Acclaimed comedians Steve Martin and Martin Short held “A Very Stupid Conversation” last Saturday night at The Ryan Center, followed by a performance from The Steep Canyon Rangers, a bluegrass band, as part of the University of Rhode Island’s “Family Weekend.”
Steve Martin opened the show accompanied by a screening of the most memorable clips from a few of his famous movies. He also treated the audience to a couple of his own personal compositions with the Steep Canyon Rangers.
On the other hand, Martin Short acted out scenes from previous performances, including a few minutes where he ran across the stage in a literal birthday suit. One of the highlights of the night was when three audience members were brought on stage and donned the sombreros from Three Amigos. They were asked to dance to the movie’s opening song in front of the entire audience. In the latter half of the performance, the award-winning Steep Canyon Rangers performed a few of their hit songs.
Overall, the show received great reviews from the audience. Many times during the show the comedians received a standing ovation, and the entire building resounded with the laughter and clapping throughout the show. The show was long awaited for, and some attendees even showed up more than two hours before hand to get seated first. While the show received an overall positive reception, attendees could be heard voicing complaints at the end of the night. The overall tone and mood of the group led to a few common grievances.
First, people complained about the length of the show. Many of those who had attended paid up to $100 for tickets, depending on seating, and these tickets had been purchased months in advance. People said they were prepared for a long and outstanding show.
Those who had paid the premium price for front row tickets especially voiced their complaints over the matter. They felt that the hour and a half length of the show was not quite worth the price they had paid for their tickets. Even those who had opted for cheaper seating in the upper stands felt that they had been a little cheated; the audience wanted a late night spectacle, and instead felt they got an evening fanfare.
Another common moan came from the students themselves. One student expressed that they didn’t understand any of the references, since most were from the ‘80s and “made no sense.” This student wasn’t the only one to have this problem. Many students sat by their parents or families’ side and sat in silence as the jokes and references flew over their heads; although that is not to undermine the comedy that they did understand. Steve Martin and Martin Short were not by any means just playing an outdated bit. The student audience still left the show having enjoyed the humor in its base form.
URI student Brendan Lovejoy said the show was well put-together and he believed that Steve Martin and Martin Short did a great job keeping everyone entertained. He said that the show was a great way to spend some quality time at URI with his mom, but unfortunately he didn’t really understand all the references.
“I think the show was put together with more of our parent’s audience in mind rather than the students’, which I think could work both as a benefit but more as a deficit for future events,” Lovejoy said. “I think that the show seemed a little short length-wise, but I don’t have any gripes with that.”
Similarly, URI student Sophia Davis agreed that the show was short, but said that the entire show was really funny and interesting.
“I personally understood a lot of the references because they referenced a lot of their older movies and I’ve seen all of them,” Davis said. “I didn’t know Steve Martin played the banjo, so that was fun. I like that sort of music so I enjoyed it, and overall the show was extremely hilarious.”
The Steep Canyon Rangers received mostly all positive reviews. Many students were pleasantly surprised by the band, although they had not thought that the Bluegrass band would exceed their expectations. The band played in an unexpected style, directed towards people who had not been exposed to the genre before.
Steve Martin and Martin Short will continue their 2015 tour in Milwaukee, Wisconsin on Nov. 20, Indianapolis, Indiana on Nov. 21 and Rosemont, Illinois on Nov. 22.