Television comedian Ty Barnett pokes fun at Harry Potter fandom, race and Cartoon Network

The College of William and Mary’s founders took the first hit in comedian Ty Barnett’s routine Friday.

“I think it’s real cool that they got their own college. You can’t name a college after everybody — Pookie and Jackie, that’s not going to work.”

This opening joke set the tone for a highly interactive and intimate show. Barnett geared his jokes toward students and included many College-related jokes.

“I had to use GPS to get here.  It’s not obvious where you guys are … Am I going to Hogwarts?”  Barnett said, playing off the Harry Potter fandom the College is known for.

Barnett informed the audience that his full name is Tyrone.

“Y’all laugh, but someone [in the audience] grabbed their purse.”

Barnett hails from Chicago but currently lives in Los Angeles. He is known for his runner-up status on Last Comic Standing and his appearances on “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.”

Barnett performed with the air of a seasoned comedian, with only a few troubled transitions due to the distractions that come with performing in a space like Lodge 1.

“I expect clowns to come by juggling cats and shit,” Barnett said after multiple distractions.

He recovered by incorporating these distractions into his act. When two girls walked through Lodge 1 in front of the stage, passing between Barnett and the audience, Barnett stopped them and made a bet.

“If the next joke I tell, you don’t laugh at, I’ll buy you a burrito,” he promised, referring to the Qdoba station in the rear of the room.

Barnett joked that Parental Aptitude Tests should be required for all aspiring parents.

“No, sorry, you can’t have kids, but you can have a turtle!” he said.

The crowd ate it up, and no burritos had to be purchased.

Like most comedians, Barnett made many jokes about the generally touchy topics of sex, race and drugs; unlike some comedians, he stayed away from the vulgar sides of these topics. In the middle of the act however, he asked one of the AMP volunteers if there was anything Barnett was not allowed to say according to his contract.

“If I lay anything that puts you off, even the slightest, feel free to keep that shit to yourself,” Barnett said to the audience.

However, Barnett avoided pushing his views on the audience or taking any wildly offensive routes. He described President Barack Obama as a “starter shade” and suggested:

“From this point forward, every culture gets a shot.”

Barnett easily combined observational comedy with audience interaction, asking audience members what their majors were. When one audience member told Barnett that he was a computer science major, Barnett quickly jumped into a bit about why he doesn’t mess with people who work with computers.

In one of his observational comedy segments, he talked about Cartoon Network running 24 hours per day.

“I imagine a little kid pacing his room at 3 a.m., smoking candy cigarettes and drinking hot chocolate. ‘This is bullshit, I have a test on shapes tomorrow!’” he said.

Some bits were borderline ridiculous, but they were received equally well by the audience.

“I saw an albino midget today,” Barnett said. “There is no smooth way to say that.  You can’t KY that. I didn’t know what to do. Like, do I make a wish?  Rub it? Get its energy?  Little person, that sounds way worse. Midget? That sounds magical.”

Barnett focused a lot of his act on race, which felt slightly redundant after a while, but there were a few gems in the batch.

“Either we gotta love everybody, or we gotta find better ways to hate each other. We should start judging people by their signs,” Barnett said and launched into an explanation of why it would make sense to judge everyone by their astrological sign.

The show was the latest comedy act brought to Lodge 1 by AMP as part of their free comedy series for students.


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