At the University of Rhode Island, in the depths of Chaffee Hall, there is a TV studio; one many students may not even know exists. But that TV studio holds a lot of creativity and talent, and most importantly, some great laughs.
Barrett Jourdan’s voice can be heard distinctly across a room, usually cracking some kind of joke that is so corny yet clever that listeners cannot help but laugh.
“Barrett Tonight is URI’s most watched and only late night television show,” says Jourdan, in his common joking fashion.
Although Jourdan may like to get some laughs out of his peers, he and his crew have a love for what they do. Every two weeks a brand new episode of his comedy show, Barrett Tonight, premiers on the URI TV Network on YouTube and television.
With the help of his director, Kody Fraser, and his co-host and sidekick Karl Anderson, Jourdan interviews students from around campus and even sometimes someone famous, like last semester’s interview with comedian Kevin Hart.
“I think some of our best episodes are when we have student leaders come on,” said Fraser.
But nothing can ever beat the day Fraser got a phone call from Hart’s public relations representative asking to be interviewed on the URI TV Network when he came to campus last fall to promote his new movie, “The Wedding Ringer.”
“I was walking back from class and had to stop and look around and slap myself in the face to make sure it was real,” Fraser said.
That may have been a major highlight for Barrett Tonight, but every episode is something different and always entertaining.
In a bouncy dialogue of jokes, improv and sketches, Jourdan and Anderson light up the set in Chaffee Hall for their 30 minute episodes. A junior, Jourdan has had the show since his freshman year, and Anderson just recently joined him on set this year. A history and political science major, Jourdan has always had a knack for film and comedy.
“When I was younger my dad introduced me to ‘Monty Python,’ and I saw everything they had, I used to read the script of the movie and perform it in front of my parents,” said Jourdan.
After faithfully watching “Monty Python” and “Saturday Night Live” growing up, Jourdan had a variety show at Lincoln High School.
“I directed it, I wrote for it and I loved it,” he said. “I just loved performing, and when I came here [to URI] they didn’t have anything like it, so I figure I’d try to be Conan O’Brien for a little bit.”
Co-host Anderson said the show works best when they have a live audience to respond and react to their jokes and improv. “It’s tough to see how well it’s received if there’s no one to receive it,” Anderson said.
“I like the unexpected. When we have a live audience or when we have different people on, it’s always fun,” said Jourdan.
For this reason, they are always looking for a live audience to join on filming days, like in the soon to be released Christmas special, which Anderson calls their best yet.
Jourdan’s goal before he graduates is to host a live show in a venue on campus, like Edward’s hall. He always encourages those interested in being interviewed on the show to contact him or the URI TV Network, and of course to be a part of the studio audience and share some laughs with them.