Comedy gives students a break

Comedian Pete Lee performs Friday night in the Loading Dock. Photo by Jennifer Friese/The Dakota Student.

For many students, the most hectic time of the year is just around the corner.

Laughter is a proven stress reliever, and nowhere was that more evident than Friday night at the  Memorial Union Loading Dock where comedian Pete Lee put on a show.

Born in the southern Wisconsin town of Janesville, Lee grew up a typical Midwesterner and attended the University of Minnesota. It wasn’t until his sophomore year he even considered performing standup comedy.

“One night, we read that it was going to be Nick Swardson’s last night in Minnesota, and we all wanted to go see him perform at Acme,” Lee said in an interview with City Pages. “What I didn’t know, was that without my knowledge my friends had signed me up for the open mic.”

With his Midwestern accent and relatable stories, it was easy to see that Lee was making connections with his jokes.

“He knew a ton of Minnesotan stereotypes, and a lot of his jokes really hit home,” freshman Austin Hautala said. “He kind of adapted to his audience and told a bunch of jokes that only Midwesterners would get.”

Lee has performed at more than 500 colleges around the country and has spent the past few days performing in North Dakota.

“I did a show at Williston last week,” Lee said. “If you ever get a chance to go there … don’t.”

After ripping on the front of the Loading Dock sign and pointing out the Midwest’s disturbing obsession with dessert in bar form, Lee went on to tell some very personal stories that his wife probably wouldn’t appreciate.

“I died laughing after he started making fun of his wife’s manly name,” freshman Lucas Mlinar said. “My girlfriend would have killed me if I tried saying something like that.”

What sets Lee apart from the Dane Cooks of the comedy world is his distinct submissive, passive aggressive demeanor.

“He was really different from most of the other comedians I’ve seen,” freshman Scott Nigaard said. “His style was very unique.”

Lee has been on several television shows in his career, including Comedy Central’s Premium Blend and Last Comic Standing, where he advanced to the semi finals.

“I’d seen him a few times before on TV, but he was a hundred times better in person,” Mlinar said.

While Lee may not be as well known as other comedians such as Chris Rock or Daniel Tosh, he certainly makes up for it with humorous flair and impressive improv skills.

“I saw a few comedians last year, and he was definitely as funny as they were,” sophomore Alexandria Palmer said. “I had never heard of him before, but he was really good.”

Freshman Alex Holland was also quite blown away by the performance.

“I’m not much for stand up comedians, but he was the best,” Holland said.

Brendan McCabe is a staff writer for The Dakota Student. He can be reached at [email protected].