It was a Saturday night at Fireside Café. The lights were dimmed, quiet music was playing and students were sauntering in every now and then to get dinner or a late-night snack. At around 10 p.m. Ronnie Jordan, a stand-up comedian, walks up to the microphone and asks how the “crowd” is. There were only about 10 people in the entire audience.”Wow, it’s packed in here. This is one show that will NOT make my resume..look at this,” he points to a row of boys sitting at a table. “Am I on trial here? That’s sure what it feels like.”
Jordan went on to say that it didn’t really matter how big the crowd was, “As long as y’all are here, that’s all that matters. Thanks for coming out.”
But it wasn’t continuously empty for the entire show – as time went on, students began filing in more and more and the audience was fairly packed by the time Jordan was well into the show. It was, however, different from his normal crowd – Jordan has opened for the Queens of Comedy, 12 city tour and has toured colleges all over the country, visiting 102 within 112 days. Jordan didn’t seem to mind the difference in crowd population though, because if there were people to listen, he was there to joke. With a wide variety of topics that related to college students and their daily lives, he was a sure hit with the crowd.
Jordan had a plethora of topics to choose from that resonated with the audience, including bathroom habits, roommate problems, bad food, crazy dining hall workers, one night stands and the bitter cold weather. Originally from Atlanta, Ga., Jordan pointed out what a difference in climate the south and north had.
“It’s freezing up here. I got my coat on like Kenny from South Park here,” he said while pulling an imaginary coat over up over his mouth.
Jordan also wasn’t afraid to pull the racist card and jokes about it in his routine, “If you do not like my jokes, you are RACIST. No, just kidding.but you are.”
Jordan started his career as a comic in Atlanta. He went to a small comedy club there and watched a couple performances.
“I’m watching these guys up on stage and they were pretty bad, and I thought, ‘Man, I can do a lot better than this.’ So I asked the club manager if I could perform for the next show. Once I got up there, I forgot most of my jokes – so I just improvised the entire time and people liked it. Then I started doing regular shows and thinking, ‘Wow, I can do this!'”
Jordan, a larger than life man, has a small part in his routine where he woos a plastic wrapped cinnamon bun, “I love these things. You can tell I eat a lot of them. I got one in my pocket right now that’s been there for the entire show and it’s a nice, gooey 98 degrees right now.”
In his act, over the sound of Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys and several other hip-hop songs in a montage, he performs his love affair with the certain pastry: longing for it, opening it, and then finally taking a bite before it falls on the floor. Looking back, he remembers one show where he performed the bit.
“Worst experience was the second time I was booed offstage – I did the Honeybun joke, but I didn’t have a Honeybun so I just had powdered donuts. I was booed off stage before I even finished and I was still eating the donuts.”
When asked where he gets his material, Jordan replies, “I get it through every day experiences most of the time. I also go off of the audience’s reactions and just make jokes up on the spot with whatever I’ve got. It’s good to do colleges because I have a lot of good material that’s relatable to you guys and from my own college experience. You know, I take the ‘Jay-Z approach’ by doing it on the fly and not really writing everything down.”
Jordan also adds, “My best experiences have been going on college tours. It’s good to not open for a big star and it’s a better crowd.” Jordan also jokes about his goals, “I kind of want to be the black Dane Cook.”
When asked what jokes are “off-limits” to him, he replies, “Well, jokes like saying the N-word are pretty off limits – Al Sharpton messed it up for us with that one. But I try not to be malicious or unfriendly to people in the audience, I don’t call them out all the time, like the people who are at the front of the crowd. You know, I want them to come back and if I don’t ridicule them then that helps a lot.”
The crowd seemed very pleased with Jordan’s performance and many students went up afterward to congratulate him on it. It’s safe to say that if he ever comes back again, Castleton students will attend.
You can visit Ronnie Jordan on the web at www.ronniejordan.net.