Berrie Center hosts night of stand-up by comedy TV alumni

Photo courtesy of Aaron Webb, Flickr

Last Saturday, the Berrie Center hosted comedians Michele Balan and Eddie Brill. Balan was the main act, while Brill did a brilliant job heating up the crowd as the warm-up act. As the audience filed into their seats and the house lights dimmed, Eddie Brill appeared on stage in a familiar manner. Given his seventeen years of work on “The Late Show with David Letterman” as well as his appearance on the comedy scenes in England, Australia, Ireland, Scotland, Canada, France, Holland and even Hong Kong, he was a crowd pleaser. After some cordial introductions, Brill began his brief spiel making fun of the New York accent. “How could such a cultured, rich ‘Hello governor’ go from a rude ‘screw you Joe’ is beyond me,” he said to the audience. New York City’s rivals in New England were not spared from Brill’s wit however; he was sure to note the Kennedys’ tendency to emphasize their R’s, impersonating a conversation between John F. Kennedy and Bobby Kennedy debating who has Marilyn for the weekend. 

While on the track of linguistic humor, Brill moved on to ridicule the entirety of the English language. After all, “what’s the point of a silent letter?” You know what we would call a silent name…exactly that,” he said to the audience’s amusement. Additionally, he covered topics such as the unfortunate weathermen designated to cover the recent devastating storms in the field in contrast to their counterpart anchors in their warm, dry studios.

In his place, Michele Balan took up the mic. Most famous for being a finalist on season four of “Last Comic Standing,” this former computer company executive made a name for herself working local New York comedy clubs as well as the Gotham Comedy Club and the Comic Strip Live. If focal point of Brill’s act was on the quirks of linguistics and language, then Balan’s focus was on the pains of age and the contrast of times. She lamented the recent trend for public bathrooms to include fluorescent lights, saying they “remind me how old I am. I already have arthritis, I don’t need anymore reminders.” Balan also remarked on the difficulties of sleeping in a loft bed back at her apartment, noting that “when I need to use the bathroom I have to climb off of a shelf and climb up like 20 times a night, yeah talk about a 12 step program.”

Once her act concluded, Brill rejoined the stage and the two of them held a short Q&A session for the audience. An audience member specifically asked how one becomes a stand-up comedian. Michele Balan remarked that potential new comedians needed to “pay their dues,” with time spent performing two to three minute acts at local comedy clubs or bars, but noted that once you get your foot in, it is well worth the tedium and effort.