By John Coffey
Last Thursday, Stanford Live invited Jenny Zigrino, a risqué East Coast comedian, to perform at Bing Concert Hall along with two student openers from the student stand-up group, Stanford Stand Up, D.
Stanford Live is a performing arts organization based out of Bing Concert Hall that hosts over 120 musical and comedy performances annually. Zigrino was the first of three comedians that will perform for Stanford Live in the 2018-2019 season.
Two more comedians, Adam Cayton Holland and Gina Brillon, are coming to campus on May 4 and June 7, with student openers Deedee Anderson ’19 and Raj Raina ’18 respectively.
Zigrino has been featured on “Conan” and “Girl Code,” and is currently touring around the country, snatching up gigs everywhere from California to North Carolina. Her quick wit and unapologetic humor jives well with audiences, and provides a refreshing change of pace to the humdrum of daily life.
Both of the openers, Jack Greenberg ’20 and Olivia Barbulescu ’19, commented about how excited they were to perform for a large audience and to introduce such an established comedian. Both said that while they have done shows in the past, neither have had an opportunity as big as this before. This is the first time Stanford Live has reached out to have students open at comedy events.
Zigrino is a role model for women interested in comedy. As the president of Stanford Stand Up, D, Barbulescu said that she initially felt intimidated by the comedy scene and that she hopes to ease that transition for new members of the club.
“This year, I have really focused on making the group more inclusive, especially to women,” Barbulescu said in a message to The Daily. “I hope to continue fostering a place where everyone can feel comfortable doing comedy on campus.”
Zigrino shows that comedy is not just a male dominated field. Her loud, boisterous comedy fills the room and dominates the audience. She doesn’t care who she lampoons, as long as it gets a laugh, and the audience eats it up.
Zigrino has a very raunchy comedy style. She frequently describes problems in her dating and sex life and makes fun of her younger sister for stealing her thunder. Sometimes these two jokes collide. Zigrino described a time where she was overseeing her sister’s slumber party. The group of 10-year-olds mocked her for not having a boyfriend. Zigrino said she felt like a gazelle among lions at this party, completely defenseless. Zigrino’s style of comedy received a warm response. She faltered in a few places when she attempted crowd work. In one instance, she was unaware what a code review was when an audience member brought it up, and had to quickly transition to her next joke.
Lori Kaplan, CEO of the entertainment company Kaplan Productions, helped to book and manage the show. She is excited for the future of bringing live comedy to Stanford. “There are so many seasoned touring comedians in the industry to choose from,” Kaplan said in a message to The Daily. “Jenny delivered … strong performances [and] great storytelling.” She also commended the two student openers for their amazing shows, saying that she thought they set up the audience extremely well for Zigrino, and that they complemented her performance.
“We are very excited about the collaboration between Stanford Live and Stanford Stand Up,” Kaplan said. “Comedy as art is a powerful way to bring people together.”
Contact John Coffey at jcoffey2 ‘at’ stanford.edu.
Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article misspelled Olivia Barbulescu’s name. The Daily regrets this error.