As some of you know, Rutgers University Programming Association or RUPA is Rutgers’ very own event planning team responsible for booking all sorts of entertainment acts to come to Rutgers to perform. Last night RUPA blew us away again as expected by hosting “A Night with Nicole Byer” a stand-up comedy performance by Nicole Byer of mTV’s Girl Code featuring comedian Emily Heller.
If you are a fan of Girl Code, you know Nicole for her hilariously charming personality and painfully relatable stories that she openly shares with the girls(and boys?) of the world. When I heard that RUPA had booked her, I knew right away that this would be a night to remember. On the other hand, I was unfamiliar with Emily Heller and excited to see what she would have to offer. Because she was scheduled last minute, I didn’t have time to watch any of her stand-up routines online and decided I would let myself be surprised.
From the second she walked on stage, Emily had the whole audience in the palm of her hand. Her laid-back, comfortable attitude was just part of her charm. She had me laughing so hard I could hardly breathe. For a last-minute booking, she sure knew how to win over a crowd.
When Nicole hit the stage you could hardly hear her over all the shrieks and screams. The audience went insane. Her jokes could literally stop your breathing. Jaws dropped when she admitted to the audience it was only her fourth time doing stand-up; she was literally stunning.
After the show, I had the privilege to go backstage and get an inside discussion with both Emily and Nicole. Sitting side by side on a couch off of the stage, Emily and Nicole decided they would ask each other questions as we watched on. Giggling and accepting compliments from their performance both girls then went into discussion mode, answering all of the burning questions that we press people wanted to know. “Okay, okay I’ll go first” Emily turned to Nicole and asked her if she felt like the TV show empowered her as a woman. Nicole laughed and gave an honest response, “I came into the show feeling pretty empowered, I got the job because I was loud and opinionated, so I would say I’ve been empowered through it the whole time”. Being such a television success, one might think Nicole would seem extraordinary or intimidating but being in her presence provided the realization that she was just a down-to-earth, truly funny girl. When asked where Nicole gets her inspiration from she hesitated, “Honestly…stupid shit in my life. All those jokes, it is literally just my life.” Nicole’s stand up routines heavily play on her “flaws” that she sees in herself. It takes a great deal of confidence to go up on stage and laugh at yourself and that is a lesson that Nicole teaches us all. Instead of picking out embarrassing things that may happen to us everyday people, Nicole teaches us that it is better to just laugh at them rather than dwell.
The attention then turned to Emily. Nicole playfully asked her, “How did you come into the comedy profession?” Even off stage, Emily was still that delightfully funny, clever girl. “It was really gradual. I eased into it…did other things until I realized there was nothing else. I was no good at anything else and once I took classes in stand up and realized there was nothing else I could do, it was my only option,” she joked. When asked how they felt about being role models for young women, both ladies had humorous answers, “I’m not a role model. I dont think I am, like look at me…I’m like a strange drag queen I have so much make up on,” Nicole admitted, “I always wear a lot of make-up for my routines so that at least if the crowd thinks I’m not funny maybe they will think I’m at least a little pretty”. Emily instantly jumped on this acknowledging her own appearance, “We are opposites. Total opposites. For me, it’s like well if they don’t think I’m funny maybe they will think it’s because I woke up…like ‘Oh that poor girl isn’t funny because she has clearly been asleep for 48 days straight’ or something like that.”
No matter what these girls might say about themselves, there is no denying they are both comical sensations. If you haven’t checked these girls out you are missing out. Make sure you keep your eyes peeled in the upcoming years; I have a feeling Nicole Byer and Emily Heller will be the next queens of comedy.
Until next time,