Even with this experience, Burguesa said mistakes on stage still happened, sometimes in the worst possible moments.
“I was at DSI since 2012 until it shut down, and I was actually part of the last paid show in Kenan Stadium for the Fourth of July, and I fell down in front of thousands of people,” Burguesa said. “I don’t know if you’ve ever heard the sound of thousands of people being disappointed in you. But it was cool because then they brought me back up.”
Dequan Bradley, who uses the stage name “DJ Kidfromthehill” to celebrate being from Chapel Hill, was in control of the music at the event. Bradley said his biggest inspiration was Jazzy Jeff, and he tries to play a mix of old and new hip-hop to give his audiences a unique experience.
“Usually people listen to only the new, and it’s rare you hear both the old and the new at the same venue,” Bradley said.
Although he said this was his first comedy hip-hop event, Bradley looked comfortable wearing a Chicago Bulls jersey behind the turn table as he interacted with the performers on stage and matched his song selection with the mood in the crowd.
The night’s music included more than just hip-hop. Performer Brett Williams mixed in stand-up with music that started as upbeat love songs, but quickly took sharp, comedic turns.
“I write ukulele love songs that some would say are humorous – I would say they’re funny,” Williams said. “I’m just like a weird, awkward person who writes love songs because I know nothing about it.”
Some of the themes of her songs included apologizing for a gruesome – though accidental – killing of a significant other’s cat, sexually communicable diseases, and even the pros and cons of dating superheroes.
Williams said she had been involved in performing arts since middle school and majored in theatre at N.C. State. Three years ago, she started doing stand-up comedy and eventually transitioned into song-writing. Her best work could come when she was angry or sad about an event in her life, and she said song writing offered an emotional outlet helping to cope with stress.
Both Williams and Burguesa said they had performed at DSI Comedy Theatre, a venue for comedy performance and training, before it closed in August 2017 due to sexual misconduct allegations against owner Zach Ward. Although Burguesa said DSI closing left a void in the Chapel Hill comedy scene, he believed performers are working to rebuild from the ground-up.
“It definitely made it more challenging, but I think it’s made people hungrier because there isn’t a big theater and you had to make it yourself,” Burguesa said.