Sept 21, 2012

by DARYL FENTON
TOWER staff writer

I am a man, and some would say a stereotypical man. I enjoy drinking copious amounts of alcohol and making outlandish claims such as “I once killed a pigeon by punching it in mid-flight.” I enjoy eating large quantities of red meat so rare it still has a racing pulse. Perhaps it is for these reasons that I simply didn’t find Cristela Alonzo funny.

Don’t get me wrong, I did find some elements of Alonzo’s act amusing and I smiled a lot, but never laughed, which is kind of imperative to the success of a comedian. Though much of the audience was not as cynical as myself as laughter was rife throughout the room, it was distinguishably of a higher pitch. As I looked around, there were women in fits of laughter-- uncontrollable laughter. (I truly hadn’t seen women laugh so hard since the time I witnessed my mother in tears after she saw my overly energetic dog Strummer leap directly into my “lower abdomen”, leaving me in the fetal position for approximately 47 minutes.) I thought I was just alone in my opinion until I spoke to audience members of my own gender after the show; the general consensus was “I didn’t get it”.

Cristela Alonzo is a Mexican woman who is aware of her weight. I am aware of this because she told the audience so – constantly. Her material at times was somewhat clichéd and one dimensional. Comedy is not as easy talking about how hard it is being a minority or the trials and tribulations of being a woman. It has been done before and frankly it’s been done to death.

I truly dislike talking negatively about those who work hard at their craft, and for Alonzo to come all the way into the wilderness of Bethany and perform her act to a half-full Renner Too shows that she is willing to do anything to make a success of her career (and after performing on Conan and having her own sitcom, it seems she is doing well).

In fairness, Alonzo’s strongest part of her act was her rapport with the audience and her ad-libbing; when she spoke to those in the audience she was sincere but ruthless when it was appropriate. It was this spontaneous banter with the audience that showed she is obviously a funny person, the type of person you would love to drink a beer with as she would have you in stitches all night. But just because you’re a funny person and quick-witted doesn’t mean you can create a comedy act.

 

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