There are a couple different ways to keep an audience engaged during a stand-up performance, most of which revolve around dead silence: either to try and fill it or just embrace it. Drew Dunn’s approach to comedy is one of self-aware awkwardness and honest zaniness, a style that has become quite popular with our generation. Thanks to three SIT members opening for Dunn the whole show was equivalent to a hand-full of friends taking turns as the “class clown”: saying something unexpected and funny in a uniquely strange way then flashing an awkward smile to the rest of their millennial-and-under friends. As the name implies but not-so-often correctly done, the acts of the three students warmed the audience up to the partially cringe humor that only builds on itself as time goes on.
This was merely the kindling for what was to become a comedy bonfire; Elizabeth Templeman ‘20, Max Weiner ‘22 and Caroline Dunn ‘21 from SIT. Templeman started off vibrantly with her, somewhat worrisome, bit on bad medical practices and coffee vibrators. Weiner, fully ironically, was the middle act of the warm up trio with his well delivered bit on how much it sucks to be the middle child, stuck bonding with his mom over “My 600 Pound Life.” After meeting her unrelated-long lost brother, Caroline Dunn (not to be confused with Drew Dunn) brought in some nifty innuendo alliteration, fully loading the bases for the clean-up hitter to bring it all home, so to speak.
You know you’re in for a truly odd treat when the comedian shouts out his arrival up on stage in a Babe-Ruth-calling-the-shot level of hyping-up. As a sign of the spirit and unpredictable routine that was to follow, Drew Dunn rides the previously built up tidal-wave, reaches the pinnacle, then crashing everything to a halt with a confession on the first time he hit and killed a beaver. Now, while the loss of a beaver was mourned and acknowledged, Dunn managed to end up turning the story into a deluded but well thought out narrative that left the audience in stitches, metaphorically speaking.
There are many particular aspects of Dunn’s routine that really added to the overall quality of his performance. His most interesting quality however, were his accents he used. Starting off with his John Madden esc. color-commentary, Dunn’s various voices only got more and more convoluted until he scared the audience with his dead-on impression of Microsoft Sam. For those who don’t know, Microsoft Sam was basically the first text-to-speech voice, used on Windows 2000 and XP, and is effectively the terminator grandfather to programs like Siri and Alexa. If you’ve ever heard of Microsoft Sam before, you would know the term “terminator grandfather” is not used lightly; it is an unnerving voice, the type of voice that you would willingly sacrifice a couple goats to if it came out of your new, voice activated, microwave.
Dunn, like most people in the business, sees the world in his own crazy but hilarious way. It just so happens that his perspective is similar to how us kids these days typically think. Some examples of this “juvenile” humor that particularly jives with college students like us revolve around throw-away self-deprecation, innocent cynicism, and sarcastic patriotism. Periodically throughout the routine, Dunn jabs at his own Bieber-bowl-cut with isolated, possibly awkward, aside comments in a manor very similar to what you’re average, postmodern, college student would do in social situations: acknowledging personal flaws without really fully addressing them. Effectively born into the internet, Dunn also talks about a passive distrust about the world and particularly technological advancements like the poorly thought out new voice password for phones or getting an Alexa and trying to freak out the government worker who’s now listening in on his room. Finally, Dunn, like most people nowadays, sure likes to mock the hardcore blind supporters of America with an impressive redneck drawl or the US’s obsession with being the best nation with a metaphorical footrace for first place consisting of just America.
Drew Dunn is a relatively new face on the comedy scene, only a few years older than the student body, but has already started making his mark, winning New Hampshire’s Best New Comic Contest and the Boston Comedy Festival. Dunn was also one of a select few comedians to be featured in the Great American Comedy Festival, created in honor of Johnny Carson. Dunn can usually be found performing all over the country but will be settling down for a bit in preparation for the upcoming Just for Laughs festival. Check him out on the usual platforms but also on YouTube and Discord if you’re interested in his alternative life as a gamer.