Once there was a British man looking to make his fortune by selling copies of Encyclopedia Britannica to Columbians. Though he did not find much in the way of reference book sales, he did not leave empty-handed, because what he did find was a Columbian woman who eventually became his wife.
Such is the tangled familial background of half-white, half-Latino comedian Andrew Kennedy, who performed last Friday night in Kresge Recital Hall, sponsored by Lo Nuestro, as part of Latino Pride week.
Much of his humor was drawn from his confused ethnicity, further complicated by his childhood spent growing up in Venezuela, Puerto Rico, Hong Kong and finally Connecticut, and the awkward situations it inspired.
He joked about Hispanic pizza shop employees assuming the Spanish they heard must have come from a nearby Indian man and not him, the reaction he gets in Chinese restaurants when he speaks Cantonese and a Spanish teacher he had in Connecticut by the very un-Hispanic name of Señora Greenberg.
A common theme was misunderstandings based on his appearance, which he owes a good deal more to his English father than his Columbian mother.
Though audience turnout was relatively low, (“It must be all of the minorities at Knox,” joked Kennedy), those who did make it witnessed an excellent show.
He also interacted a good deal with the audience, typically picking on audience members based on whatever ethnicity he needed to make a joke about at that particular moment (including an inquiry as to what a certain white TKS reviewer was doing at a Latino pride event).
The best moment came when Kennedy played all of the parts of an envisioned musical about the presidency of Bill Clinton, topped off by a “Dreamgirls” inspired rendition with Kennedy channeling Hillary Clinton singing about staying by her man.
The humor would certainly have turned some off, though. Kennedy showed little interest in political correctness and a short list of the groups he made fun of would include the English, Irish, Scottish, Puerto Ricans, Chinese and Indians. Few people left the auditorium without at least part of their heritage the butt of a joke.
Additionally, those who could not understand Spanish missed out on some of the best moments in the show (including an inspired telenovela re-enactment, a genre that Kennedy described as so sexually charged, “just watching can make you pregnant”).
Sophomore Karla Gasca, social chair of Lo Nuestro, was pleased with how it turned out, “It was funny. The Latino jokes were spot on,” she said. Though she said, “I wish it had been longer,” echoing a common audience complaint.
Sophomore Aby Izquierdo also thought it was a good show. “It was refreshing. No one at Knox understands the Latino community that well,” she said.
Those who missed out on the show can catch Kennedy’s stand-up special on Comedy Central, where it is still in regular rotation. He also has starred in a pilot episode of a never-aired CBS sitcom.