Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College
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Uptown Showdown

I was honestly a bit nervous before going to the Christmas vs. Hanukkah debate. What I had pictured was two tables on a stage, with representatives on each side, presenting very formal arguments. I was wondering how this was going to be considered a comedy. However, I was quite pleasantly surprised after seeing what the event actually was. I was drawn in at first by the host who seemed very cheerful. I was also amused by the little musical medley the Christmas team sang as they were coming onstage. I found the “smell machine” to be quite amusing as well. I’ll now examine the positives and negatives of each side.

For the Hanukkah side:
I really enjoyed the first presenter’s t-shirt which said “JEWCY” in large colorful letters. Little elements like that make the delivery more amusing. The t-shirt shows that he’s not trying, but the play on words gave me a good chuckle. Although he had a lot of historical information which maybe became belaboring at some point, I did like the way he threw in jokes here and there casually, such as when he said that the Hanukkah side pretty much had the debate wrapped up, because the debate was taking place on the Upper West Side. The woman for the Hanukkah side seemed pretty passionate about the subject and I liked the way she got really into it. I thought her voice was maybe a bit too powerful for the occasion, however. She seemed extraordinarily loud, which maybe added to her appeal. I also enjoyed her parodies of different Christmas songs she chose to consider. The last man I found to be a tad awkward in some ways. I feel like his delivery was a bit forced at certain times. I also thought his little presentation was irrelevant in certain places. I felt the presentation was too long as well.

For the Christmas side:

I thought the man with the smell machine was very good at improving. He had very funny interjections while the other side was speaking. He also had very lively facial expressions and voice inflections, which for me was the majority of his appeal. The woman on the Christmas side I thought was the most boring of all of the performers. She seemed to show almost total disinterest, and her voice was very dull throughout. Her presentation was average, I think. I thought it was better than the one given by the Hanukkah side. However, I thought a lot of it was very trite and not thought-provoking at all. The last man on the Christmas side was quite funny. I really liked his presentation and it made sense. Even though it may have been very simple and possibly a bit corny, such as the different slides with denim shirts, his delivery impressed me to compensate.

In the end, I ended up choosing the Hanukkah side because I thought their jokes were more clever and in general, they had better delivery. I also thought that though they did have a lot of historical information, it was enough to warrant their arguments, which was partly the purpose of the debate, besides making the audience laugh.

I thought that the way to choose a winner, however, was maybe a bit ineffective, though it was clever and fun. I feel like there were probably many people who clapped for both. Additionally, I’m sure there are some acoustic issues in the room, which could have led to inaccurate readings of sound produced by the audience. However, it was a nice way to engage the audience, I think, especially since the debate itself did not do that too much. In certain places, certain comics did point out audience members, such as when the man with the “smell machine” made a crack about Ronny. The interview too was meant to engage the audience, though I felt that became counterproductive because of the two inconsiderate jerks in the audience who only made snide comments.

All in all, I was very thrilled with the event and thought it was very funny. This was actually the first time I saw a comedy act live, and I found the debate aspect of it to be very unique and thrilling. I will definitely try to attend the Showdown next year!


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