Photos by Jake McLernon

It was 30 minutes till start time, and floods of people were rushing in through the doors of the Patriot Center on Saturday night. The majority of the audience was students, guiding eager family members to their assigned seats. As the clock approached eight, the chaos that once ensued near the concessions dwindled to several people still rushing to snag a bag of popcorn or, in one case, figuring out which stall of the bathroom someone’s grandmother got stuck in, and helping her out before the show started. The lights grew darker, the audience became quiet and the opening act emerged from the back of the stage.

“Tonight, you’re going to hear stuff you have never heard before,” warned Keith Robinson, the opening act for the Family Weekend Comedy Show. “Come on now. It’s college.” The cautionary statement, directed primarily at the younger audience members, rang true throughout the entire two-hour show. Both Keith Robinson and Wanda Sykes touched on topics that probably wouldn’t be considered appropriate at the dinner table.

Robinson, a self proclaimed “situational racist,” was very engaging with the audience, often calling upon guests sitting in the front. Age was a recurring theme in his jokes, so the combination of students and parents present proved to be the perfect audience to refer to and use in building up to his punch lines.

He often went as far as criticizing the current generation, claiming, “You all think you gonna save the world — well it’s not gonna happen.” This prompted a hilarious rant about his “skinny jeans-wearing” son before transitioning to his ex-wife and thoughts about women. After a brief dive into politics, his 30 minutes were over, and the lights in the Patriot Center dimmed to the point of complete darkness.

With the spotlight turned on and the speakers blaring a heavy bass, Sykes stepped onto the stage. “What are y’all thinking hiring me with my foul mouth?” Sykes said. Known for her no-holds-barred style of humor, the 47-year-old began with a brief mention of her experience at Occupy Wall Street, which brought her to the topic of Barack Obama. The bit was funny, but in retrospect, it felt as if she dwelled on the topic for too long.

Sykes drew most of her material from her personal life from her recent double mastectomy to being the lesbian mother of a set of Caucasian toddler twins. Motherhood was a central theme throughout the show and arguably the source of her most hysterical jokes, notably her portrayal of Lucas, her son with an abnormally large head. Sykes continued into her personal life and used her very physical method of telling jokes: At one point, she hunched over on all fours on top of a stool.

The show came to a close, and the lights turned on to reveal an audience that appeared pleased with the evening. What could have been an awkward recipe for families proved to be a bonding experience, with many continuing to recite their favorite lines on their journey out of the venue. With Seth Meyers last year and Wanda Sykes this year, we can’t help but wonder: Who does Mason have in store for next year?