Comedian Renee Santos rocked TNL with her set

By TORI D'AMICO
On March 6, 2019

Photo by Tori D'Amico

Tuesday Night Live hosted another success this week when they welcomed in comedian Renee Santos.

Though the night started off sparse in students, the auditorium was soon filled with laughter as Santos worked through her routine. She shared her experiences performing at schools in the south as an LGBTQ+ community member and artist of color.

“I performed in South Carolina, but I’m a latina lesbian” She laughed, “which is either great marketing alliteration or a huge booking deterrent.”

One school admitted to her that they were filling a diversity quota for performances on campus, but for an up-and-coming performer, all stage time is worth it.

Santos got her start in comedy after double majoring in writing and acting at Emerson College in her hometown of Boston, and said she sought out a way to perform her own work.

“Stand-up comedy became a conduit for me to be able to do my own work,” she said after the show.

Her hour-long act included jokes about her experiences with her mother, battling addiction and the stigma she experiences as a lesbian woman.

On stage, Santos joked about the effects addiction had on her life in a lighthearted fashion, being now nine years sober. Off stage, though, she spoke about how comedy became a way to cope.

“The first time I did an open mic at a rehab center, it was like this exploratory thing and I started doing sober comedy. I thought ‘wow, I could really be of service,’” and her work continues to be an open conversation today.

Students felt a connection with Santos that was clear in their reactions to her jokes. Young queer students are not often surrounded by adults to look to for reassurance about their experience  yet Santos provided just that.

“I’m not intolerant to a lot of things except homophobia and lactose,” she said, which filled the crowd with roars of laughter. Many students in attendance resonated with feelings of intolerance, and appreciated her ability to not only validate this quality, but make light of it, too.

Some of her less relatable experiences include being strip searched at the airport, her mother trying to convince her to give up her sexuality for lent and, perhaps most absurdly, giving her Wi-Fi password to Mark Zuckerberg.

Despite Santos’ wide array of experiences, she never failed to relate back to her audience and make them laugh.

One particular joke that Ramapo students could appreciate was her rendition of Adele’s “Hello” which she rewrote about her experiences living in Jersey city, where the other side is Manhattan.

“It [comedy] helped me celebrate who I was,” she said. “When we are willing to be seen it allows other people to be seen.”

Ramapo’s willingness to invite a diverse range of performers was well-appreciated by students. A crowd of girls waited after the show to talk to Santos and express their appreciation.

Though Santos expressed how she is infamously known for poor promotion at the beginning, students left knowing to search for her comedy album “Outside the Box” on streaming platforms to hear more from her. The shirt she wore bearing her album cover, and five images of her own face, was sure to leave the title in students’ mind.

Renee Santos was well-loved by those in attendance, all of whom seemed to agree to wanting to see her again.

 

vdamico@ramapo.edu

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