Jay Pharoah brings laughter to Washburn

Goofy: AJ Foster (left) and Jay Pharoah (right) act goofy while getting their picture taken. Foster has opened for many of the country’s top comedians, including Pharoah on many occasions.

Jay Pharoah came to Washburn on Sept. 23 to bring laughter and a good time to students, faculty and the community alike. This event was sponsored by the Campus Activities Board and Washburn Student Government Association.

The night opened with comedian AJ Foster, who has been an opening act for many comedians, other than Pharoah. His work had gripped the crowd’s attention and entertained everyone for the next hour while he went through his routine.

Both of the comedians used many personal experiences in their jokes and related to the audience. After Foster had finished his act, he introduced Pharoah.

Pharoah had just started traveling, and was happy to be out on the road again. From SNL to Nickelodeon, Pharoah is well versed in his comedic career.

Seeing as some jokes were more advanced, it was clear that they were aimed at an older audience. The laughs and faces of the audience said it all. Though some subjects were touchy, Pharoah made sure to lead back to his real reason behind each joke.

Thanks to Foster and Pharoah, the audience had sore stomachs from laughing for almost two hours straight.

After the performance, some students were able to meet Pharoah and Foster during a VIP meet and greet.

“I loved it. I think he is so funny,” said Julia Kofoid, a junior social work major. “My family has watched SNL for years so I am really glad that we were able to get him to come on campus. His impressions are obviously what he is known for, so I think just him integrating those throughout his performance was awesome.”

“I think he is better live and in-person just because he was talking to people in the audience and calling them out and having an interaction with everyone in the audience and I really like that,” said Kofoid after the performance ended.

Kofoid went on to say that Washburn should hold more performances like these. “I would love to see John Mulaney.”

Along with the students who attended the event, CAB members were also excited to watch Pharoah perform live.

“It was great! It was really funny and I liked it when he picked on Jarron Caffrey,” said Hannah Mae Atakpa, a sophomore STEM education major and CAB member. “I think he keeps the same energy throughout. He is good in all performances.”

After pictures and talking to fans, Pharoah was able to comment on the night.

“I thought it was fun. I thought everybody came out for a good time and I was having fun up there, it just felt like I was talking to y’all really.”

The experience of performing in person instead of on television is always different for Pharoah. “Performing in front of people, you get the interaction so quick, but performing on television, you might have more of a script that you have to do. Whereas with in front of people you can be more off the cuff and just have fun and be more spontaneous,” said Pharoah.

The pandemic was hard on the world, and Pharoah acknowledged that when he talked about the crowd who had come to see him.

“They were fun, folks had a good time because y’all have been behind closed doors for like a year and a half and this is the first live comedy show y’all have had. I think everybody was having a good time, it was fun,” said Pharoah.

Working as a comedian comes with its ups and downs, but nonetheless Pharoah persisted. He finally gave some words of wisdom.

“Listen man, if you want to do standup entertainment, it is very important to keep folks who keep you grounded around. And then don’t be afraid, get on stage and try stuff. That’s when you find gems, when you try things. Keep everybody’s feelings conscious. Be a total empath, feel for them.”

Edited by Ellie Walker, Kyle Manthe