WEST VALLEY CITY — It was hard to tell Humor U was a BYU troupe at a comedy showdown with the University of Utah at Wiseguys Comedy Club on June 5.
Humor U comedians Drew Allen, Hannah Wing, Bryan McDonnell and Jacob Tehrani competed against U. of U. comedians Jackson Banks, Jonathan Falconer, Dylan O’Neill and Wallace Fetzer.
Both universities touched on sensitive issues like sex, incest, suicide, polygamy and pornography. BYU student Drew Allen joked about pornography consumption in Provo.
“In Provo we just got Google Fiber, which is something we’re very excited about to accommodate the incredible porn demand that there is,” Allen said. “They should hang a few ads in Provo like, ‘Google Fiber is here to stream porn faster than ever; less time to get caught by your roommate, more time to feel ashamed afterwards.'”
The event attracted a diverse crowd, including college students, parents of college students and many senior couples. One U. comedian reminded his friends as they arrived that the show was rated “PG-18.” Comedians from each university, Utah State University, the U. and even BYU, poked fun at Latter-day Saints. BYU student Jacob Tehrani had a great deal to say about polygamy.
“Brigham Young University is a pretty prominent institution in 2014, but it began as a one-room schoolhouse built by Brigham Young himself out of whatever wood he could find and the bones of his fallen wives,” Tehrani said. “The world sees marriage like a tennis one-on-one thing, but the Latter-day Saints see it as an opportunity to build your own Mighty Ducks, and if you’re captain of the team you make the other Mighty Ducks have sex with you.”
Emcee Mike Grover, a self-proclaimed USU dropout, satirized the LDS Church between acts, but even he was surprised at Tehrani’s standup.
“I feel like when you’re that aware in that culture, that’s got to be exhausting to go to BYU and you’re gonna come up with some pretty creative stuff in that situation, which you did,” Grover said. “He must be a senior or something to speak that boldly.”
Utah student Brennan John enjoys standup comedy but had never attended a live event until the Wiseguys show. He left feeling disappointed.
“I like comedians that can take simple, normal ideas and make them funny. Instead these comedians seemed to fall back onto overdone LDS jokes and even traveled into highly offensive territories like incest and suicide,” John said. “I expected that from the U. of U. comics but was surprised that even the BYU comics couldn’t refrain from jokes about sex.”
John observed the audience just as much as he paid attention to the university comedians. After U. of U. comedian Jackson Banks told a particularly offensive joke, he saw a senior couple get up and leave.
“It’s too bad because I thought that many of the comics were actually pretty funny, just their over-dependance on shocking subject matter made it rather bland,” John said.
Humor U sent its official response about last night’s event to The Universe via email, saying,
“What is offensive is also subjective. Something that we worry about for not just this showdown, but for every single show we ever perform in, is making our audience happy, which to us means making them laugh without making them feel uncomfortable … it’s quite possible that audience members were disappointed in our jokes last night and if that’s true, we apologize for any offense given. What we do know is that we were not embarrassed by our material. Some of us even had our parents in the audience. … But we also believe that we did balance out the show with clean comedy. Our four comedians told clean, witty jokes about naming hurricanes, passing away in your sleep, shopping at Costco, meeting Taysom Hill, watching ‘Star Wars’ and using Tinder.”
Humor U ultimately lost to the U. with a score of 126 points to 127, according to the club’s judges.
Drew Allen contacted the Daily Universe, emphasizing the need to distinguish between the four independent comedians and the officially sanctioned BYU club Humor U.
“This was not an official Humor U performance. The name “Humor U” was never used during the show or on the Wiseguys website promoting the event,” Allen said. “We performed as 4 independent comedians at a non-campus event.”
Humor U responded to the Universe via it’s official Facebook page and email address on June 6 about its standup material before this article was published. Humor U failed to make Allen’s distinction in them.
“Humor U has always been about clean and universal comedy. We are not embarrassed by any jokes we told, and we tell the same type in shows on BYU’s campus,” read the Facebook message.
“Something that we worry about for not just this showdown, but for every single show we ever perform in, is making our audience happy, which to us means making them laugh without making them feel uncomfortable. For this reason, we discuss, cut and veto jokes from every single Humor U show (including last night’s performance),” read the email response.
The Facebook posts also made no distinction. All posts promoting the Wiseguys event were removed from Humor U’s official Facebook page on June 9. Humor U took down their official Facebook page on June 10.
While the Humor U comedians did address sensitive issues, a group of five adults from a “single adults over the age of 50 ward” recognized Allen for his performance.
“(They) thanked me for keeping my set clean and for not using profane language or graphic content like the U of U performers did,” Allen said.
Allen also emphasized the distinction between the acknowledgement and the attack of issues.
“I do not believe that anything that was said by a BYU performer was inherently offensive, Allen said. “There is a difference between acknowledging the fact that many BYU students struggle with pornography and championing pornography. There is a difference between addressing polygamy and attacking the Church … I love the Church and I love BYU … Those in attendance were old enough to be okay with talking about difficult subjects instead of just trying to just push them under the rug and pretend that they don’t exist.”