MTV and VH1’s “Wild ‘N Out” star headlines CPB comedy show

Nearly 300 students gathered in Friends Hall for a free comedy show to kick off the spring semester. Hosted by the College Programming Board (CPB), the show was the first big event since last spring’s concert starring Aly and AJ.

Set to headline was comedian and “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” star Lavell Crawford. The show had been advertised since the end of the fall semester, encouraging students to come watch the man behind the beloved character, Huell Babineaux.

However, students were notified upon entering Friends Hall that Crawford would no longer be performing due to a scheduling miscommunication. The comedian believed that the show was set for Saturday evening, not Friday, Jan. 20. By the time of this realization, it would be nearly impossible to get the comedian to Ramapo in time for the show.

CPB and the Center for Student Involvement professional staff did not find out until about three hours before showtime, forcing them to quickly assess the situation. The options they had were to only have the opening act perform, cancel the event or hire one of three comedians that still had availability.

President Janelle Boamah, with the help of her e-board, decided that it was still important to give students a full comedy show. They quickly spent some time reviewing the potential comedians’ material and decided on a new headliner, Radio Big Mack.

“We may not have gotten Lavell Crawford, but we still wanted to give people a good show,” Boamah said. “It was a very quick process because we only had 15 minutes to choose an act, so we were very pressured. But at the end of the day, the show turned out really, really well.”

While this rather breaking and bad news was disappointing to some, many students shared that they didn’t really know who Crawford was and felt indifferent about his absence. For many, they were excited with the outcome because they were more familiar with Big Mack’s TV show than Crawford’s.

Big Mack is best known for his work on MTV’s and VH1’s “Wild ‘N Out,” a viral sketch comedy and improv game show with a hip-hop flair. He has been a fan-favorite recurring cast member since its 11th season, and the show is now on its 18th.

Many audience members were long-time fans of Big Mack. Photo by Emily Melvin.

“I’ve been watching ‘Wild ‘N Out’ for literal years,” sophomore Tori Hunter said after taking a photo with Big Mack post-show. “I’ve been wanting to meet one of [the cast members] for the longest time… it was amazing.”

The Sicklerville, N.J. native is known for his larger-than-life presence. He prides himself in putting his loud voice and large body out there and not feeling ashamed for expressing himself.

“Other people don’t matter. You gotta love yourself and be happy. That’s all that matters,” Big Mack said in an interview after the show. “So if I can instill that in somebody and they can take that and leave here and be like, ‘you know what, I am sexy, I can lift my shirt up,’ that’s what’s in it for me.”

Even while making plenty of fat jokes, Big Mack made a point during his set to lift up his shirt, expose his stomach and talk about how confident and good-looking he is. Though a comedian, he still has ambitions of encouraging himself and others to just feel good about themselves.

His overall set was very interactive and engaging. Big Mack had a variety of music queued throughout his performance, some including just background sound effects while others were TikTok dance songs, and Big Mack danced, jumped and shook on the small Friends Hall stage.

In the last half of his set, he switched into “Wild ‘N Out” mode and played popular games from the show. He brought up many student participants and played the rap games “Family Reunion” and “Kick ‘Em Out The Classroom.”

In addition to Big Mack, two other comedians opened the show. Reggie Conquest – known for his stand-up and role as Devin on the sitcom “Abbott Elementary” – performed a 30-minute set after a 15-minute set from lesser-known comedian Jordan Brown. Each comedian spoke with the audience and poked fun at many students, including those that go to therapy and a couple that admittedly doesn’t cheat on each other.

“The comics were really funny. The energy was there. They really knew how to get the crowd going,” said sophomore Lara Kiblawi, who had the opportunity to go on stage and roast Big Mack in “Family Reunion.”

Though each of the three comedians had their own taste and execution of jokes, Friends Hall was packed with laughter, and students were definitely given a memorable start to the spring semester.

Featured photo by Emily Melvin