By Olivia Popp
Comedian Nick Thune performed a double-header at Bing Studio this past Saturday. Thune catered most to an adult audience, jumping between his guitar and jokes tossed to two men sitting in the front row. Thune tried to guess the names of the men — never actually succeeding but resulting in the audience asking the men what their names were at the end of the night (Derek!).
Thune spoke mostly about his life story, recounting a particularly long anecdote about getting stuck in a old hotel women’s bathroom before a performance. Disappointingly, Thune’s delivery wasn’t particularly conducive to laughter save for the asides he threw in along the way.
However, it was Thune’s inclusion of the guitar that was the most engaging part of the performance. Beginning with a comedic song about losing a dog, his impressive and agile playing was a highlight of both the comedy and the performance as a whole. Jumping from background music to musical interlude, Thune essentially played his way through the performance and carried the rest of his jokes.
I can’t really say if it’s just Thune’s style or if Thune is still honing his style — if that makes sense. He doesn’t seem to have a particularly distinct method of telling jokes beyond conversing with the audience in a way that’s like telling stories at a party. I’m intrigued to see where Thune’s comedy has led him and what kind of audience finds his performance style most engaging.
Stanford Live enjoys decking out Bing Studio in an extravagant way; this time, the studio is essentially a comedy club. It made Thune feel somewhat distant but ultimately made him more interesting as a performer, per se; it put me back into an environment that forces me to feel like I’m in a social outing for a night “on the town.” It didn’t quite make my experience more enjoyable, but it allowed me to appreciate him as a performer in a sometimes anxiety-filled, intimidating space.
However, older audiences seemed to enjoy Thune’s performance, but maybe there’s just lesser precedent on his style. I personally felt like there was much more room to grow in his humor, given that the studio was never filled with laughs or any true form of enjoyment or informed experience. Thune seems like he’s a seasoned performer, and I’m excited to see where his set grows, but for now, he didn’t impress as much I had hoped.