Muhlenberg hosts a lot of events, you just have to check out the activities calendar to see for yourself; they don’t, however, advertise these events all that well. This leads to people missing the opportunity to see some mind-numbing comedians like Gibran Saleem and Natalie Cuomo. Now, while mind-numbing might sound kind of bad, it’s actually one of the pinnacles of comedic expression — like when you’re really tired and everything is just so incredibly funny. Saleem’s sense of humor doesn’t hold your hand as he tries his hardest to mess up every punchline to the point where you might not get the punchline until he’s already halfway through the next joke, which tends to lead to some incorrectly timed laughter.
The night started with Natalie Cuomowarming the unfortunately sparse audience up by chatting with them about the American college life. Thanks to a few vocal members of the audience we were all treated with interesting facts about American life that no one else really knew about either — like that environmental science majors are the ones who mediate those simple Biologist and Chemist, or that Cleveland is actually right next to Mexico but still an hour away from Canada. Cuomo brought a casual approach of comedy to do as the act implies and warm the audience up like we were all chilling and having fun together.
Saleem, on the other hand, was not the good-willed friend who makes sure everyone’s having fun on the same page but someone who’s having fun spewing stand-up, cracking even himself up with each throw away punchline, enjoying his own routine regardless of whether or not everyone was feeling the same. It’s an uplifting experience to see someone doing stand-up because they truly love comedy and what they’re doing — not because they’ve been told they’re funny and simply need a job to do. This mindset can add so much to a performance even if it ultimately just boils down to a mentality
Another style that Saleem used in his performance that also highlights his fast paced and causal style was his use of stuttering while delivering a joke to further personalize and drum up anticipation for its delivery. The strategic stuttering rose to its zenith during his joke about fake white babies for purchase where he started imitating the pitch of a boot-leg, fake baby dealer would give by naming different facts about the baby dolls in question tied together by hand gestures and random sounds. This is the type of humor that requires a recognition of the audience’s ability to understand the format of the joke being told and then skips over some of the unneeded aspects to save everyone’s time and focus more on the humor that is meant to be conveyed.
It is truly a humbling experience to interact with some of the lesser known comedians that Muhlenberg brings in who are trying their best to make it big but still dedicating so much effort and consideration to even the students of a small college like ours. Both Saleem
and Cuomo stuck around after the show to talk to and get to know some of the audience as well as encourage them to reach out and follow them on social media.
To see more of Gibran Saleem and Natalie Cuomo find them on the usual social media suspects and various comedy clubs all over like the New York Comedy Club or the Gotham Comedy club. You can also see Saleem on the comedy series Better Things by Louis CK and Pamela Adlon. Saleem is also currently working on a short comedy film with a handful of other comedians called Gibranistan as well as he is starting work of a series called The Modern Aladdin.
Keep up with Saleem and Cuomo as they comedy their way to stardom and make sure to check out the activities calendar so you don’t miss out on more great events like this one.