Comedian Jaboukie Young-White performed at the CEMEX auditorium on Friday during an event hosted by the Stanford Speakers Bureau (SSB). The show was Jaboukie’s first in-person show after his 40s, and he emphasized how excited he was to perform in college. campus. After a half-hour comedy, Allison Kluger, lecturer at the Graduate School of Business, hosted a question-and-answer session with Jaboukie.
Born into a Jamaican family and raised in a Chicago suburb, Jaboukie has contributed to several entertainment programs like “The Daily Show” by Trevor Noah, which he described at the event as “a top school for comedy.” . In “The Daily Show”, Jaboukie took part in conversations with Noah and in comedy field interviews. He also ventured into acting, lending his voice to animated films like “Ralphs Breaks the Internet” and starring in the Hulu original “Only Murders in the Building”.
Jaboukie explained at the event that he attended DePaul University but dropped out of his final year to devote himself to comedy full-time. The comedian did a great job connecting immediately with the crowd with focused humor focused on Stanford and the college experience. For example, he joked about the “candle” nature of the Stanford location. He said he expected to see a “quaint,” mom-and-pop-style college town and was amazed to see relatively high-end establishments like Anthropologie, Salt & Straw and Neiman Marcus in the streets. university locals, joking that it “must be hard to be fake poor” on this campus.
Satirizing his own academic background, Jaboukie complained about his academic essays. He said it was crucial to incorporate family trauma into personal statement essays as a catchphrase, but later casually gave up on a handful of accomplishments – something that perhaps touches close to home. itself for an audience that thrives on intellectual vitality because it elicited a loud laugh.
He said he lost the opportunity to make a perfect “trauma” claim because he was unaware of his family’s unusual immigration history. Apparently her father landed in Florida from Jamaica via a perilous speedboat journey from the Bahamas. Jaboukie joked that he could have gone to Harvard if he had written his admission essay about this startling story.
Jaboukie shared multiple pearls of wisdom that would be useful to students, interspersed with comedy. First of all, for safety reasons, do not walk around with two headphones. The comedian drew this lesson from a failed phone theft attempt. He explained that he was attacked by two assailants, one man threatening him while the other offered aggressive, hype-like rap ad-libs. As a rap and trap lover of the SoundCloud era, I was really amused by the ridiculous nature of metaphorizing violent near-thieves into musical artists. Without a doubt, Jaboukie’s fluid connections to pop culture references throughout the show demonstrated his ability to build relationships with audiences. He even interacted with audiences one-on-one at times, creating an intimate sense of connection and relativity.
For students interested in pursuing comedy, Jaboukie said humor is a learned skill and suggested that, ingeniously enough, reading comedy books is a great first step. Regarding his personal philosophy of humor, he gave an interesting insight that everything can be a joke, but not everything is funny. Humor is “not a universal law like gravity,” Jaboukie theorized. He even went so far as to give advice on the linguistic diffusion of comedy, explaining that setting up a punchline can completely change the success of a joke.
The mood for the evening was definitely laid back and even scorching at times, with a particular joke about the lack of pineapple shipments due to the Suez Canal obstruction in 2021 impacting room activity. He went through the gamut of content, from mocking the names of Catholic schools to reliving life-threatening experiences, and I really enjoyed how the audience feedback highlighted the meaning of the irreverent and desensitized humor of Generation Z.
Hannah Pingol ’22 appreciated Jaboukie’s vulnerability on stage, saying “he was not embarrassed to take out his notes and acknowledge his anxiety at the thought of playing”.
Aside from his stand-up and performances, Jaboukie is also known for his thunderous presence on Twitter (@giabuchi). During the evening’s question-and-answer section, the comedian explained that his relationship with Twitter is undeniably turbulent; he has been banned from the platform several times, once for impersonating the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
Something unusual about Jaboukie’s Twitter account is that he frequently tweets and deletes. He explained that this was a smart strategy he employs to make an impact while avoiding consequences (like account bans), with the legacy of tweets continuing through screenshots. Seeing a tweet from the comedian not in the form of a screenshot is a rare and fleeting thing – akin to seeing a “shooting star,” Jaboukie said.
While the majority of the event was a success, the question and answer portion was a place of significant tension. When the moderator, Kluger, asked a question about “canceling the culture,” there was laughter from the audience. Immediately Kluger asked what was funny, which I found unreasonable; the participants were only diffusing the tension around the controversial topic. In another uncomfortable moment, she asked Jaboukie her name and how it might contribute to success, which turned out to be rather inappropriate as it might assume that success comes from a name rather than years of hard work and of dedication. There were uncomfortable reactions from the public in response to the racial undertones of this question, which seemed to pose some names as unique or unusual compared to Euro-centric names. In the future, perhaps SSB questions should be peer reviewed to ensure the comfort of the guest and the audience.
As for the future, Jaboukie opened up about how he would work with Issa Rae ’07 for two upcoming TV shows. He reflected on his success, lightly explaining that when someone searches for the phrase “young white comedian” expecting to see someone like Pete Davidson, they will be pleasantly surprised (or not surprised!) That the result number one is Jaboukie Young-Blanc, given his last name. Overall, the comedian gave a truly engaging performance, and I am delighted to observe his journey through the entertainment industry.