This weekend is first year family weekend. The only special event non freshmen have to look forward to during this time is the guest entertainer Cornell invites. My freshman year it was Whoopi Goldberg. Sophomore year it was some impersonator. Junior year (which I missed and am still upset about) it was Stephen Colbert. This year, my final one at Cornell, saw Howie Mandel grace Ithaca with his presence.
Aside from hearing him say, “Open the case” in Deal or No Deal, I do not have any other accomplishment that I can link to him. As a result, I was somewhat unenthusiastic in my expectations. I received my ticket for free, but was still shocked to see that it cost $10 more than a ticket for the same quality of seating to see Bill Maher, who has significantly more clout than Mandel. No wonder Barton Hall was half empty. Nonetheless, I went in with an open mind. Mandel was very enthusiastic, performing in a stream of consciousness dialogue. It was as if he were William Faulkner minus the grasp of the English language. His interactions with the audience can be lauded as well, but overall it was nothing more than average. A nice night of entertainment, but nothing special. Hedgehogs, cucumbers, parrots, et al made a verbal appearance at some point during his routine. Watching the sign language interpreters with their hilarious signs for “immature” words was thoroughly more enjoyable than half of Mandel’s routine. To his credit, however, he assimilated the interpreters and their signs into his stand-up. That part was a nice infusion of improvisation into an average routine that portrayed his wife as a mindless, shopping crazy woman.