UH comedy show gives its laughs for free

Michelle Norton

Staff Writer

Audience members at Friday's "It's Time for Some Big Laughs" comedy show found out that the best things in life are free.

The show, organized by the University of Houston's Council of Ethnic Organizations and held at the Cullen Performance Hall, provided students an inexpensive way to laugh it up with their friends one more time before the end of the summer.

Tonya Anderson, a senior psychology major, attended the show to cool off from the summer heat and enjoy the company of her friends, but also admitted, "I mainly came to the show because it was free."

Showcasing some of the industry's most talented comedians, the event was hosted by Ian Edwards, a veteran of The Keenan Ivory Wayans Show and HBO's Def Comedy Jam.

Edwards, known for his long dreadlocks and colorful language, made it a point in his opening act to target unsuspecting students and faculty.

Spotting Vice President for Student Affairs Elywn Lee in the front row Edwards immediately nicknamed him the "nutty professor," clapping his hands and breaking into a chant of "Hercules, Hercules!"

Students arriving late were also setting themselves up for comedic abuse. One woman walked into the auditorium several minutes into his act and became the center of attention when Edwards asked for an explanation for her tardiness.

He continued his act by commenting on the abusive power of the telephone company, complaining about the voice of the lady who says, "Please deposit 25 more cents." He told audience members of his discovery that wherever he went, the voice was the same, even in Japan.

Edwards argued that we are the victims of a phone conspiracy. "My friend neglected to pay his phone bill so the phone company cut it off," he said. "But, showing how corrupt they are, they reconnected it just long enough to call him and find out when he was planning to pay his bill."

Following his act, Edwards performed his function as host by introducing the next performer, comedian/actor Rich Ramirez. Known for his role on NBC's Law and Order and appearances on the Apollo Comedy Hour, Ramirez described his 59-day stay in the hospital after a major liver operation, discussing sponge baths and pondering the idea that people who receive transplants take on the characteristics of the organ donor.

Ramirez continued by questioning the ability of police officers on bicycles. "It's not like they are going to catch anyone," he said.

The last comedian to grace the stage was Hamburger. Known for work on Def Comedy Jam, the Apollo Comedy Hour and BET Teen Summit, Hamburger immediately commented on the emptiness on the auditorium. CEO members expected more than 500 in attendance, and the auditorium was only half full. Though he joked on stage that it is bad when you can't get people to come to a free show, offstage Hamburger pointed out that the audience size didn't matter. "It's quality, not quantity, that matters," he said.

Hamburger was delighted to see the diversity of ethnicity in the crowd and revealed how he once wanted to be a DJ. He began his monologue describing the weather and then began the countdown of humorous spoof top-10 hits.

Ending his act with a look back to "old school" rap, Hamburger donned a hooded sweater and began rapping loudly, encouraging audience members to wave their hands in the air as if they just didn't care.

Giving thanks to everyone for coming out, all three comedians signed autographs and shook hands with each student after the show. "Working (in) front of the students at UH made the seven-hour plane well worth it," Ramirez said. "I would do it again in a minute.

Visit The Daily Cougar