As the first week of classes of the fall 2017 semester slowly came to a close, students from all stages of their college career were itching to find sources of entertainment to blast away the oncoming, eminent stress of a new, or first, year at UNCG. The search for a temporary escape from their studies and a chance to savor the free time they have while it lasted doesn’t take long, thanks to the Campus Activities and Programs Office, (CAP) and its cohorts planning Rawkin’ Welcome Week.
CAP works hard to reach out to the UNCG community and provide students with plenty of opportunities to get out of their dorms, hang out with friends, mingle with new people and enjoy free events and activities.
Among these many events, comes one in particular that stands out from the rest: the Rawkin’ Welcome Week comedy show. From 7 p.m. to 9 p.m. on Aug. 17, students could come to the EUC auditorium for laughs, giggles and short pauses of silence through the “I don’t get it” moments of comedy. Two comedians, Orlando Baxter and Jessi Campbell, took the stage and engaged the audience with funny stories and strange life experiences they’ve been through.
Standup comedian, Orlando Baxter, opened the show. Baxter is originally from Boston, Massachusetts, but as his passion for making people laugh grew out into the professional world of comedy, he began traveling outside of the United States to reach people in different countries through comedy festivals.
Along with local and international performances, Baxter has recently debuted on television. In 2016, he presented his stand-up routine on TBS on the Conan O’Brian show.
Strangely enough, Baxter didn’t choose any type of comedy, standup or otherwise, as a profession early on in life. Before his current career, Baxter worked at a high school in Boston as an in-school suspension teacher. Every day, different students who caused a long range of disruptions came into his office, which gave him inspiration for his performance.
He started out his routine with quick digs at himself. After he greeted the audience, Baxter casually stated, “As you can tell by my accent, I’m Black.” Even though he is obviously African-American, he mentioned how many people assume he is Hispanic as his first name is Orlando.
After breaking the ice with the audience, Baxter got people involved in his act by asking them questions. He asked the freshmen members of the audience how their first week was going and whether or not they liked their roommate. He asked who in the audience had had a bad roommate experience, and one attendee raised his hand to explain that his roommate just sat around in his underwear.
When the laughter died down, Baxter moved into more personal stories about being bullied as a child, his love life and his time as a high school teacher. He had a crazy ex-girlfriend who would keep a knife under her pillow in his apartment “just in case someone comes in and assaults” both of them.
As for his time as a high school teacher, Baxter dished out stories of drama his students had created. One story, was about a student who was called to his room for “making cat noises during class,” another for wearing pajamas to class, and two others were caught for having sexual relations during the school day.
Through everything he went through in his teaching career, he always told his students to follow their dreams. To end his segment, he was open about how thankful he was to be following his own dreams through comedy.
The second comic, Jessi Campbell, was an energetic soul who said that she enjoys eating; struggles putting on jeans with “fashion holes” and knows how to lure a racoon from her chimney with Cheetos. The mix of her upbeat personality and stories of awkward situations like accidentally punching a woman in the back of the head at a Broadway show, gave her an interesting presence on stage.
At the end of the show, students went back to their lodgings satisfied with the time spent at the Rawkin’ Welcome Week comedy show, hopeful for the next events to come.