In conjunction with Fall Fest and Parents’ Weekend, Student Activities put on their customary event to entertain parents and relieve students of begrudgingly leading them around campus. Last year’s event featured comedian Judah Friedlander, and to continue with the comedian theme, Dave Coulier performed hijinks for the crowd in the Shapiro Gym in Gosman this year. Most famous for his portrayal of Uncle Joey Gladstone on the late ’80s, early ’90s smash hit “Full House,” Coulier has always been a steady stand-up performer also known for his impersonation skills.
Sandra Luo ’15, on-campus programming coordinator for Fall Fest, thanked the crowd for coming out and introduced the opening act, Prashanth Venkataramanujam. A fellow stand-up performer out of Los Angeles, Prashanth provided high energy and good dialogue with the audience. While a bit too reliant on jokes revolving around how crazy something is, he understood his role and got the audience loose and ready to laugh. Most of his jokes over his 25-minute set won the crowd, especially his observation about how many different countries have gained their independence from England. The other jokes, while original, mostly revolved around stereotypes and toilet humor, subjects that have been covered to death.
Immediately after finishing his set, Prashanth then introduced the crowd to the main attraction, Dave Coulier. As he came out on stage, the entire crowd of roughly 400 people lit up as they realized that childhood idol Uncle Joey was on stage in person. His facial expressions and voice brought up old memories of Ranger Joe, guiding the Tanner girls through life. Coulier didn’t depend on these memories though; as soon as he got into his act, he was just as successful as a stand-up comedian.
Starting out with topical references to Brandeis, with an impression of Justice Brandeis, and the hysteria over Ebola, Coulier quickly got into referencing his role on “Full House.” Mildly self-deprecating when talking about his blonde mullet on the show and his catch phrase “cut it out,” Coulier provided the audience with what they most wanted to hear—stories about “Full House.” While never getting too much into it, Coulier got it out of the way so he can get into his original stuff that was actually pretty good. He had a good stage presence, always seeming to straddle the mic and stand like a hobby horse to get closer to the audience, and worked the crowd by altering his voice during a bit about cockpits. Here, Coulier wondered what he would say over the intercom if he was a commercial airline pilot, and wound up doing a spot-on Spongebob and Patrick Star.
There were few low-points during his set, the most notable being when he tried to make a joke about how could Arabic men find women attractive when they completely cover their bodies. A tough joke to land at a very liberal place like Brandeis, he mentioned that the political stuff wasn’t going to work. Though just a few moments later, in the midst of a Matthew McConaughey impression, he brought the crowd’s attention to the fact that Bill Clinton and McConaughey sound extremely similar, and this political joke stuck.
Probably the most memorable moment of the set were when Coulier directly interacted with the audience, improvising jokes along the way. Early on in his performance, Senior Vice President for Students and Enrollment Andrew Flagel arrived with his wife and son to their reserved seats in the front row. Noticeably late to the performance, Coulier began mocking the vice president, asking him if he thought he was more important than everyone else by having specially reserved seats and walking in late. Not realizing who exactly this was, Coulier then asked the crowd if he was actually someone important and whether or not he should be saying these things. A bit later on, an audience member had to get up to use the bathroom. Noticing someone leaving during his set, Coulier called her out. He had been in the middle of a Bane impression, so he naturally told this girl, visibly embarrassed, that there was no pooping during his show. Playing around with her and her friends sitting with her, Coulier spieled about the difference between a poop walk and a pee walk. Completely made up on the spot, Coulier really exerted his comedic prowess and flexibility in this exchange.
Eventually he got around to talking more about his other work in the entertainment industry as a, as he puts it, professional copy-cat. Coulier has done professional work dubbing over other comics’ voices, including Chris Rock and Robin Williams. Also during this portion of the set, he talked more about his personal life, including his interactions with his father and son, and of his interactions with neighbors, one of whom is Arnold Schwarzenegger. It was odd to hear him talk so candidly about drugs and alcohol after growing up with him on “Full House,” but by no means is he on par with “Full House” cast member Bob Saget’s stand-up, which is crude to say the least.
Coulier finished up his set a little oddly by playing harmonica. A very skilled harmonica player, he played a solo for what seemed like a solid five minutes. Disjointed with the rest of the performance, his harmonica performance was simply boring. Though he did have a plan for it, as it led to his final bit, “harmoni-thoughts.” Here, he basically reads out tweets while playing his harmonica in between. Some cheesy puns and clever lines, Coulier’s “harmoni-thoughts” showcased how much material comedians have that they can’t really use in fully thought-out bits. Finding a way to incorporate them into his act speaks to just how innovative Coulier is.
Dave Coulier then ended his hour-long set rather quickly, telling the mostly student audience, “You’re the future, do well,” just as Uncle Joey would say. A nostalgic night for most, everyone seemed to be leaving Gosman with a smile on their face.