Comedians Jay Pharoah and AJ Foster starred in UNC’s annual homecoming comedy show Tuesday night, highlighting controversial topics with humor, celebrity impressions, Justin Bieber lyrics and freestyle rap.
The show was organized by the Carolina Union Activities Board (CUAB) who partnered with UNC’s General Alumni Association and Homecoming Committee to put on the event.
“It’s tradition and it gives students something safe and fun to do during homecoming week,” Erin Robinson, a CUAB member, said.
Last year’s show was a hit, featuring comedians DeRay Davis and Chris Redd, and many students returned this year for another night of laughter. Some eager students lined up outside Memorial Hall an hour before the show.
“I’m expecting to laugh a lot,” first-year Hannah Budds said.
Opener AJ Foster introduced himself as that “ad you have to watch on YouTube before you get to the video you actually want to see.” However, from his animated entrance to Playboi Carti’s "Magnolia," to his “thug life” jokes, Foster kept the audience on their toes, gasping for breath between laughs.
Foster began performing stand-up comedy as a student in New York and quickly rose to fame. He has opened for several renowned comedians and has been featured in some of New York’s leading comedy clubs. His contagious energy and effortless humor set the stage for Jay Pharoah.
Pharoah is a stand-up comedian, rapper and impressionist from Chesapeake, Va. He appeared on six seasons of SNL, exiting the show in 2016. He now stars in "White Famous," a comedy series produced on Showtime Television.
Pharoah quickly excited the crowd with a shout-out to the national championship title, and continued to engage the audience through a variety of relevant topics. Pharoah highlighted American political culture, race, religion and sexual orientation, integrating each issue into his performance cleverly.
An incredible impressionist, Pharoah executed celebrity personalities Dave Chappelle, Kevin Hart, Drake, Kanye West and Barack Obama excellently. He poked fun at Justin Bieber’s "Where Are U Now" sound effects and performed freestyle rap spontaneously.
Pharoah sarcastically underlined several sensitive issues throughout the night while still filling the room with hysterical laughter. Although some jokes may have made some audience members uneasy, the messages he conveyed through the use of comedy united the diverse audience Tuesday night and left event-goers recalling their favorite moments as they left the venue.
“This was my first time hearing and seeing him, so I didn’t have a lot of expectations. But wow, it was really great,” first-year Christine Dequito said.
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.