October 24, 2018 The Signal page 19
Arts & Entertainment
Laugh / Comedian pushes boundaries in offbeat set
Meagan McDowell / Photo Editor
D’Elia singles out an audience member trying to record his show.
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After snarling at the child, he panicked when it screamed and its mother turned around. “I said ‘I don’t know what’s wrong with your baby. I didn’t do anything, and you’re obviously raising it wrong — you’re a bad mom.’ And then I nervously walked into a Forever 21,” D’Elia said.
D’Elia soon called out several of the audience members throughout his set, including one person who attempted to record the show. “Hey, you over there — I see you recording me,” he said. “You got it, right? You understand what I’m saying, right? You speak English — yeah or no?” “Yeah,” the audience member meekly replied. D’Elia asked the audience member if
they were recording his performance on Snapchat so that his friends would believe that he attended the show. D’Elia assured the rogue crowd member that his friends would certainly believe he saw D’Elia’s set in “prison with the chandeliers,” throwing another jab at the venue. He hoped that the audience would better understand how embarrassing it is to be singled out in a crowd, a feeling D’Elia often experiences as a performer. “How hard do you think this is?” He asked. “At least I’m not recording you with your fucking bitch-ass face like that.” Inspired by a friend’s grandfather who had an accident while sitting on the couch with the comedian, D’Elia made the audience wonder about what would happen if someone who was about to commit a drive-by shooting had a sudden urge to go to the bathroom. He imitated a man who was dedicated to his criminal plans, confidently counting down the blocks to his destination. Once the fictitious shooter was one block away, D’Elia paused his narrative and simply looked at the audience, pantomiming the shooter’s actions after his plans were foiled and his pants were soiled. D’Elia told the audience that his two pet yorkies are always by his side, and that the dogs were probably unhappy to be apart from him during the show. “They’re probably looking at me right now on Google Earth,” he said. D’Elia explained that he usually feeds his dogs outside, but this created an issue when his least favorite animal — the possum — discovered the food and began to eat it. To help the audience understand why he dislikes possums so much, D’Elia repeated the phrase “Possums have hands!” several times, but the comedian was equally uncomfortable with the animal’s face. “It looks like if you make eye contact
with them, they’ll download your soul,” he said. Opener Mike Lenoci’s performance was quite similar to D’Elia’s — both comedians incorporated current events, toilet humor and even baby Alena into their sets. Lenoci talked to the audience about how being in his 30s has vastly changed his lifestyle, and that he now takes his contacts out before bed and tries to be more responsible. He described going to college as “the biggest mistake of my life,” and regrets racking up costly student loans. “Alright Sallie Mae, what are you, the Mafia, just going around collecting money from people?” He said. During Lenoci’s five years studying sociology as an undergraduate, he was also a fraternity member. “I was a good frat guy. It was always consensual. I was a good one, you know? I didn’t go to Yale or anything,” he said. Just as Lenoci was wrapping up his set, Alena made herself heard. To the audience’s delight, he imitated her cooing, and ironically reminded the audience not to record D’Elia before he left the stage. D’Elia completely understands that his often vulgar humor may offend some people, but said that free speech is essential to preventing comedy from becoming an excessively censored, “corny” industry. He supports comedians who stand by their jokes and do not back down when someone questions their material. “Sometimes it’s up to us to do a joke that we think is funny,” D’Elia said. “Sometimes not only does the audience not laugh, but they’ll literally be like ‘no.’ But we gotta be like ‘uh huh, I swear to God.’’’
Brockhampton loses member but not vibrance on ‘iridescence’ By Jack Lopez Staff Writer Brockhampton is rap’s first real boyband. While front running members like Kevin Abstract, Dom McLennon and Merlyn Wood take on vocal work, other members curate the music and video production, promotion and more. Last year, the group released three albums that were all met with high critical acclaim. Brockhampton’s newest album titled, “iridescence,” made an immediate splash, debuting at No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in September. The album, which happens to be the band’s fourth in just over a year, comes following a dramatic summer that involved two canceled albums, the expulsion of Ameer Vann, one of the group’s lead vocalists, and the success of its own Beats 1 Radio show. Production-wise, the album flows incredibly smoothly. Hemnani, the group’s in-house producer, proves his versatility with the ability to create an album full of beats that is starkly different to much of what the group has done before. Song transitions, particularly between the opening tracks “NEW ORLEANS” and “THUG LIFE,” are almost unnoticeable. The album works better as one cohesive project rather than as a compilation of songs put together. It’s obvious that a lot of care was put into the sound design and album layout. The group wanted the project to be recognizable to its fans while also establishing a new sound and direction. For the most part, “iridescence” succeeds. A lot of the grittier lines and flows left the group along with Vann, and other members were forced to step into different roles and evolve. Bearface, a member who typically had only been used
for interludes and album outros, is now featured more prominently. His artistic style is significantly different to Vann’s and it comes across noticeably. Tracks like “TONYA,” “SAN MARCOS” and “THUG LIFE” are used to showcase Bearface’s vocal range and the new direction that the group seems to be taking. The album plays better as an entire piece of art, rather than a compilation of singles. Some songs are a bit harder to listen to out of the context of the album. Songs like “NEW ORLEANS” and “THUG LIFE” almost need to be played together due to how effective the transitions are. The songs on “iridescence” have completely different tonal vibes from the group’s previous work, and I view that as a good thing. Having the ability to try different sounds and use so many different combinations of voices is what makes Brockhampton one of the most exciting modern groups out right now. Each member of the boyband has their own standout moments. On “WEIGHT,” Abstract opens up about his insecurities and struggles coming to terms with his own sexuality. While rapping about being gay isn’t new to Abstract, this is the first time he shows such raw emotion about how he deals with his sexuality. Wood and Champion are given an entire song, “WHERE THE CASH AT,” that plays off of each others’ energies. As two of the most eccentric members of the group, they carry a swelling that gives them an opportunity to shine. McLennon proves once again to be the most technically gifted member of the band with his ability to deliver powerful lyrics in varying cadences on “NEW ORLEANS,” “TAPE” and “TONYA.”
The rap group releases a 15-track album.
JOBA has one of the best overall moments on the album with his rage-fueled verse on “J’OUVERT,” which is inspired by his frustration with how other people judge and perceive him. Overall, this album wasn’t what I expected. “iridescence” hits on different tonal notes and provides a perspective into how the group will continue following the expulsion of Vann. Artistic growth is a positive change, and I found it interesting to see how a band of this size would cope with the change in tone that it had to make.
The 10/24/18 issue of The Signal, The College of New Jersey's student newspaper