Even on Alumni and Families Weekend, parents and families should do their research to ensure they will be comfortable with a comedian’s humor.
Actress and comedian Leslie Jones brought her raunchy and sexual jokes to the District as the featured star in this year’s Fall Comedy Show, but received mixed reactions from attendees due to the explicit nature of her controversial set. New York stand-up comedian Lenny Marcus preceded the former Saturday Night Live cast member’s performance at the annual show that has traditionally attracted past SNL stars, including Michael Che and Mikey Day.
The Memphis-born comedian Jones started her career performing at stand-up venues in the Los Angeles area. Since then, she is most known for her roles on SNL and the 2016 reboot of Ghostbusters. Jones and Marcus launched a podcast in August called “The fckry with Leslie Jones and Lenny Marcus,” where the comedians rant about everything from dating and sex to societal issues.
Getting inside the arena Saturday night felt like its own accomplishment with lines of people wrapped for blocks around the various entrances as the clock neared 9 p.m., when Marcus was scheduled to begin.
Marcus poked fun at a range of controversies at GW and across the country during his standup performance, from the Colonials moniker to the need for a gun in the United States, but some comments didn’t have everyone laughing. Marcus’ joke that he shouldn’t own a gun because he would “kill about half of the Supreme Court” in response to the overturn of Roe v. Wade caused some mixed reactions from the crowd.
After Marcus’ set wrapped up around the 30-minute mark, the Emmy-nominated actress appeared on stage with a colorful shirt with the name of political activist Angela Davis in orange letters below a portrait of the activist and her legendary afro during her young adulthood.
Jones’ comedic style was far more explicit than Marcus’ – at least one third of Jones’ segment centered around the sexual mistakes of her past, how to sexually please women and sex advice for college students. Jones made graphic sexual jokes like comparing “the softness of d*ck skin” to crepes and suggesting that men should use the hand motions they use while playing video games to “pleasure pu*sy.”
Jones even pointed out particular audience members, giving them sexual advice like “This is college, okay. Start sucking some d*ck,” in response to a group of girls in the audience saying they did not have boyfriends.
Jones offered a few tidbits of nonsexual, general life advice like “You’re going to f*ck up a lot. You’re supposed to.” Her set at times felt like a mini sermon.
Jones addressed the common belief that she is a lesbian, saying she would “get so many b*tches” if she was. “I’d have them b*tches fighting outside my house,” she said.
For about the last 20 minutes, Jones descended to the floor of the Smith Center with the audience to give light-hearted roasts to anyone the microphone wire would let her reach, though the comments were not always appreciated by their recipients. She even poked fun at the parents in the front row who brought their children to this clearly adult-rated show, exclaiming “He’s 12!” Laughter filled the arena, causing Jones to break at times, laughing at her own jokes.
“When your kid grows up, and he’s f*cked up, he can blame it on you for bringing him to Leslie Jones,” she said.
As the clock neared 11 p.m., the laughs and cheers came to a close as the two comedians concluded their show while audience members ruminated on the performance they had witnessed.
“I didn’t think it was anything out of the ordinary from what she normally does,” GW parent David Kingston said of Jones’ explicit style of comedy.
Even audience members that enjoyed the show were shocked by some of the raunchy and explicit details in Jones’ performance.
“I had no idea what to expect, and I was surprised,” Kingston’s wife, Kristi Kingston, said.
The parents – visiting their daughter, a senior – were less disgruntled by the performance than other visitors with younger students.
One mother in the front row appeared visibly upset when Jones called her a “MILF” and insinuated that her son’s friends were attracted to her.
“I was really upset that GW put us in this situation,” the parent wrote on the George Washington University Parents Underground Group on Facebook with nearly 3,000 members. “We were expecting the content to be something we could enjoy.”
“It was awful,” the parent wrote. “45 minutes of graphic and raunchy sexual content sitting next to my 18-year-old son. I wanted to leave but we were in the front row and the only exit path would have required us to walk right past her.”
While some of Jones’ and Marcus’ jokes may not have pleased everyone, no real comedic performance will, nor should it. Comedy is meant to make certain audience members uncomfortable, within reason, and Jones’ performance at GW was no exception to her usual comedic style. This year’s fall comedy show set the tone for this weekend as one that will be filled with laughter albeit controversy in the nation’s capital.