REVIEW: National comedian does not hold back for GV show

Courtesy Photo /
Comedian Eric OShea

Courtesy photo

Courtesy Photo / Comedian Eric O’Shea

Chris LaFoy

Some students may expect campus activities to be tame. This week, though, Spotlight Productions featured a national touring comedian that was anything but.

Eric O’Shea, a New York-based comedian, stopped at Grand Valley State University on Tuesday as a part of his national college tour. Although his audience may have been young, his material was both edgy and mature, a mixture that pleased the crowd.

One of the finalists from Spotlight Productions’ “Last Laker Standing” competition opened the show for O’Shea. Joe Stahura walked onto the small stage and immediately set the tone for the evening with dark jokes about relationships and extracurricular activities often enjoyed by college students.

Stahura’s delivery and writing could be polished, but he had the material to get a positive reaction from the crowd. After his set, O’Shea complimented him multiple times and after the show O’Shea gave the young comedian some pointers and encouragement.

Stahura introduced O’Shea with a quick speech that included accolades such as performing at the Emmys and winning the 2007 National College Comedian of the Year Award.

All of those in the crowd who thought they were going to see a PG, watered down stand-up routine censored so it could be performed at school were quickly reformed. O’Shea quickly delved into subject matter that would make school officials cringe and students squirm with hilarity.

O’Shea’s material wasn’t raunchy, his laughs didn’t come from shock, but he certainly wasn’t holding anything back just because there were some coeds in the audience.

Some of his biggest laughs of the evening were strongly rooted in nostalgia. Bits about his cheap mom buying off-brand breakfast items and reprimanding him with physical violence may not be ground-breaking, but O’Shea’s delivery and creativity treated the subject with a new, innovative light.

O’Shea can credit YouTube for some of his personal success, and the video the Internet seems to react most to is his Elmo impression.

As soon as O’Shea said his first word impersonating the loved Sesame Street tenant the audience was his. He explained that he uses the voice to entertain his young niece, but sometimes can’t keep his personal problems from coming out. He described finding his cheating girlfriend and what he did about it in terms that would make Big Bird very uncomfortable.

After his set, the audience gave O’Shea a warm and enthusiastic round of applause. He continues his college tour with performances at Ferris State University and Grand Rapids Community College this week.

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