As one of the culminating events of the 2019 Family Weekend, on Saturday, Nov. 2, Muhlenberg families gathered inside the Event Space to see comedian and singer Creed Bratton, who is best known for his role on the hit NBC sitcom The Office. This event was so well-attended that the audience expanded into the Light Lounge, with people filling both of the spaces.
Prior to Bratton’s entrance to the stage, singer-songwriter Renee Levine ’22 performed some songs, both originals and covers, including her original song in Spanish called “Ve a Mi.”
After Levine’s performance, the audience began cheering “Creed” as soon as they saw the lighting of the elevator from which he came reflect off of his head through the black curtain, which shielded the backstage area.
As soon as he entered the stage, one audience member asked him to do a cartwheel, to which Bratton replied, “You do a fucking cartwheel,” signaling to the audience that this was not going to necessarily be a family-friendly event, despite it being Family Weekend. Still, Bratton explained, “That was out of character for me.”
Nonetheless, the audience enjoyed the songs Bratton sang while playing the guitar, some of them being originals from previous and future albums, including songs from his album Tell Me About It and from his soon-to-be-released album called Slightly Altered. Prior to being on The Office, Bratton was a member of the American rock band The Grass Roots during the 1960s. As a nod to his days as a band member, Bratton sang a new acoustic version of The Grass Roots song called “Temptation Eyes,” which will be on his album Slightly Altered.
“My favorite part was when he sang his song ‘Chemical Wings,’ where he showed that even a senior citizen can rock out on the guitar,” said Amber Zion ’20. “What was great is that you didn’t have to be a fan of The Office to enjoy his performance, because even though I don’t watch that show, I was still very entertained by him.”
In between songs, Bratton would share stories from his life, during which he admitted to the audience, “This may or may not be true, any of this stuff.” This left the audience questioning which stories were real and which were fake. For example, Bratton shared stories of his career as an adult film actor, but the titles of the films he said he starred in, such as “Alien Penis,” were so ridiculous that it was tempting to search them to see if they actually existed. Another example was when Bratton jokingly said that he heard that a member of The Weekly was taking photos of his performance, which made it apparent to the audience that he researched the school before arriving for his show.
“I honestly thought some jokes were really hit or miss; however, he definitely was fun, and the energy definitely was there,” said Connor Baker ’22, who helped coordinate the event as Film Chair for Muhlenberg Activities Council, which sponsored the event. “My favorite part was all The Office stuff I was familiar with and the crowd came alive especially during those sections.”
During the event, even though Bratton often presented himself with a comedic persona, he gave audience advice such as to “stay in class.”
There were moments during the show where Bratton gave the audience the opportunity to sing along with him. One example was when he invited an audience member onto the stage so she could hold an obviously fake review of The Office, while Bratton shared the review to the audience in the form of a song. This song was played to a tune that every audience member knew, even those who never saw the television show of which Bratton is known: The Office theme song. Bratton sang his original lyrics to the audience. The altered lyrics are about the show, particularly about the actors and the characters they portray. Audience members who are fans of The Office were able to understand and appreciate the references from the T.V. show in his song.
Bratton concluded his performance at Muhlenberg the same way The Office concluded their series finale: with Bratton’s original song “All the Faces.”
“Well, the last song, ‘All the Faces,’ always struck home with me because that was the episode I watched directly after breaking up with my boyfriend,” said audience member Noah Lebovitz ’20. “I break down in tears every time I listen to the song and in person, it was such a joyous experience; I was sobbing. Creed’s personality and charisma were impeccably brought together and I’m really thankful for being able to attend the show.”
With the great success of Bratton’s performance, it will be no surprise to see similar events in the future.