As Nick Swardson walked the backstage foyer of Weill Hall he marveled at the portraits of the past performers who’ve earned the concert hall its pristine reputation. He recalled to the audience his final thoughts before his performance.
“Welp, I’m about to take the stage, so that’s all about to change.”
He was right. The Green Music Center had yet to host an act like his.
Jokes about farting, cocaine and getting blacked-out drunk at a Carrot Top show were not in short supply during the comedian’s stand-up last Tuesday night. Of course, avid fans of Swardson would expect no less from the raunchy actor, director and screenwriter.
He’s known for his roles in movies like “The Benchwarmers” and “Blades of Glory” and most notably for his character, Terry, in Comedy Central’s “Reno 911.” Swardson even boasted during his act that Terry gets him out of speeding tickets since most of the cops who pull him over are fans of the show. “F*cking Terry, get out of here,” they say.
He’s produced successful stand up specials that landed him his own sketch comedy show, “Nick Swardson’s Pretend Time,” although it only lasted two seasons. However, Swardson was able to swoon the crowd with his animated personality and jokes tailored to Sonoma State University.
“This can’t be a university campus. This must be a front for something. Everyone’s just high and chugging wine,” he joked.
Swardson even made fun of the school’s mascot.
“What even is a Seawolf? I’ve been to the sea…been on a boat…been surfing...and no one’s ever said: ‘Bro, scared?’ ‘No, why? Shark?’ ‘No…wolf.’”
Later he threatened to throw a few annoying audience members to a pack of Seawolves outside the hall.
Much of his act was built on making fun of alcoholics or stories of getting drunk himself. He recounted getting so wasted before a carrot top show in Las Vegas that he didn’t remember the name of a movie he was starring in after being asked in front of the audience.
“Drinking is fun but you should do it in moderation,” he advised. “You should get f*cked up at a Carrot Top show though.”
The crowd laughed uncontrollably at his stories and yelled out portions of their favorite jokes. He handled them professionally but was taken aback after he saw two girls in the front row who looked familiar.
He told the rest of the audience that he couldn’t believe they were in attendance since he’s only met them previously on a cruise ship. When looking for alcohol, he met a group of girls who showed him they came prepared with five shampoo bottles full of Fireball whiskey. He was no longer confused as to why he was hearing shouts of “fireball” from an audience member that night.
What was more shocking to the crowd was that Swardson, with his dumpy figure and immature personality, is set to turn 40 this year. He didn’t seem to mind the mixed reactions he received when revealing that to the audience. “I know I dress like I’m 14 but I don’t give a f*ck.”
What wasn’t shocking was his eagerness to start reciting his favorite fart and poop jokes, the funniest of which was Swardson’s concept of a “sh*t sprinkler.”
To tell the joke, he first let the audience remember the feeling one gets before they really need to go. He then told them to picture a scenario in which an Olympic figure skater gets that same feeling, right before she is supposed to get thrown in the air.
“Don’t throw me,” Swardson mimicked as he danced around the stage. “Don’t f*cking throw me.”
He proceeded to receive some of the biggest laughs of the night as he depicted what it would look like if she was thrown and turned into the fabled “sh*t sprinkler.”
While the Green Music Center has played host to big names in comedy like Aziz Ansari and Gabriel Iglesias in the past, Swardson set a new standard in his level of filth and lewdity. It will be hard to find another act like his without them looking completely out of place within the classy walls of the concert hall.
As far as other comedy shows to look forward to, Iglesias is scheduled to return to The Green Music Center in July and “The Daily Show” host Trevor Noah is slated to perform there in August.