Comedian Zach Galifianakis, in a last-minute performance on Saturday night, didn't disappoint a packed audience at the University of Rochester after The Office actor B.J. Novak cancelled due to sudden illness.
Mulling around onstage in Strong Auditorium dressed in jeans and an untidy plaid shirt, Galifianakis gave the appearance of a shy fifth Blue Collar Comedy Tour member - a group which he attacked with a few of his funny one-liners. He was soon belting out off-color witty observations about topics ranging from pop culture to drunkenness, including race, sexuality and his own low self-esteem.
Some particularly memorable jokes raised his questions to the audience about whether or not they had seen "That Lifetime Show…about that woman?" or how old a highway should be "before you tell it that it's adopted?" Galifianakis easily made fun of himself, saying that he goes to the Olive Garden alone on Friday nights, pretends that it is his birthday and cries as the waiter sings and brings him his cake.
His material was not overly hilarious, but coupled with Galifianakis' casual attitude, it brought smirks of approval to the faces of the audience members, as well as some occasional cheers and rooting as the comic proceeded through his show.
Galifianakis further enhanced his act as he played an old grand piano throughout. The light music was easy to listen to and amplified the routine as a great backdrop for most of his jokes.
He made sure to comment on the unusual presence of the large instrument, complaining lightheartedly about how difficult it was to "get that thing on a Greyhound Bus."
Galifianakis also pleased the audience by turning up the houselights at one point in his show and taking a stroll through the crowd. As he walked through the aisles, he would casually address individuals and ask questions about their majors and hobbies, making jokes as he received the information. He even invited a shy young woman onstage to continue the interview to the crowd's delight.
Galifianakis did a satisfactory job of replacing B.J. Novak for the comedic event. His material was not unbelievably great, but it possessed a dry and ironic humor.
Galifianakis has headlined the Comedians of Comedy Tour, the last installment of which will be premiering on Comedy Central's Secret Stash on Sept. 29, according to the station's Web site. He has also appeared on several major talk shows including David Letterman and Conan O'Brien, and has had cameos in the films Bubble Boy and Corky Romano.