The disappearing comedian: Rory Scovel

By Jodi Guglielmi, A&E Editor

March 27, 2013

DSC_0656With his high-energy and “college friendly” appearance, there wasn’t much not to like about Rory Scovel as he took the University Center Cinema stage at High Point University Friday night, March 22.

Because the show was on a Friday night, the cinema was about half full, just enough for Scovel’s “no more than 70 people” demand that he claimed he made. He was very understanding about the number, or lack of number, of students in the audience but he used the small crowd to his advantage.

Starting his act off right away with a risky joke of thanking “Highland Place” for having him, Scovel showed no mercy in using the school as a subject for some laughs. Noting the different ways people usually react to him when he pretends to forget the school’s name, Scovel immediately got the crowd to interact with him and the jokes. Asking questions and getting answers from students kept the audience on their toes as well as provided fresh material for Scovel.

Making use of the two microphones on stage, Scovel gave a microphone to a person in the crowd to get back-up “in case something went wrong” with his performance. Continuing with jokes about HPU, Scovel couldn’t help but mention the numerous fountains on campus and the HPU water bottles that the school provides.

The show almost seemed more like a funny conversation between Scovel and the crowd, instead of a typical comedy performance.  Scovel did not just stand in one place at the microphone to tell his jokes; in fact, Scovel spent half of the time wandering around getting to know his surroundings. Disappearing completely twice during the show, once behind the movie screen and another time into hallway. It was very clear that there was no way Scovel had scripted or planned the show.

Even though it was a bit unusual for a comedian to disappear during the show, Scovel did an impeccable job of making jokes out of it and keeping the audience laughing and engaged the entire time.

If a person did decide to leave mid-performance, which happened four different times, Scovel did not let them sneak out in any way. Yelling, “Kimberley no! Don’t go!” at anybody who left, male or female, he made light of what could have been awkward situations.

Rory ScovelToward the middle of the show, Scovel returned to his standard prepared jokes. Making fun of himself and some of his social habits, he told his jokes in a story-like way that the audience was able to relate to.  If there ever was a lull in the performance, Scovel did as he promised and turned to the person with the microphone for confirmation. As soon as he found an opportunity though, he would revert right back to Improv.

Scovel even noted after the show that this is the very reason that he likes performing at colleges. “It throws me for a loop, which I enjoy. I get to talk to the crowd more than I do at a comedy club because it’s almost pitch back and you can’t see and anything,” said Scovel. “I get to do more Improv which is really what I like to do.”

Scovel’s sense of humor was both mature, yet appropriate. He did a perfect job of keeping the jokes funny and at a college level, without getting too vulgar like so many comedians tend to do.

As the show came to a close, Scovel struggled to find the perfect joke to leave on. Trying out about three or four different jokes, he wanted to leave the show on the right note. Ironically, this ending was a recording of crickets being played and Scovel leaving the stage awkwardly as nobody clapped (as instructed by Scovel). While for some this may sound weird, anyone who attended the show could agree that this was in fact, the perfect ending.