Jenna Marbles has a message for her critics who think she’s unladylike.
“Fuck those people.”
On Saturday, Duke University hosted Youtube sensation Jenna Marbles (real name Jenna Mourey) for an hour-long question an answer session that dabbled in topics ranging from the worst sexual experiences ever encountered (“To sum up — ‘thumb, and ow'”), to some seemingly out of place life advice.
Going into the show, few really understood what the evening would be like. Marbles — an online comedian famous for her goofy faces, and funny videos — doesn’t have stand-up experience. Because of this, it wasn’t surprising that the internet celebrity opted for a more conversational format.
Donning a Duke lax pinnie, enormous hoop earings, and hot-pink hair, Jenna Marbles emerged from right-stage to raucous applause, and some not-so-subtle cries of love and lust.
It wasn’t all just for Marbles either.
Akahne Philpot, a junior, screeched every time anyone moved near the curtain.
“Oh my God, it’s Julian. Oh my God, it’s Julian. Oh my God, it’s literally Julian,” Philpot screamed as she spotted Marbles’ boyfriend just offstage.
Marbles gained notoriety after her video “How to trick people into thinking you’re good looking” went viral in the early stages of Youtube.
I know all of that, and I’ve seen all her clips, but I have a dilemma. I’ve been struggling all day to find a nice way to say this: Marbles was surprisingly funny.
Yes, her videos are good, and yes, she’s made an impression on younger generations, but I’d be lying if I told you I thought she would be as good as she was. Marbles isn’t the kind of “laugh out loud” comic that you may be used to seeing on stage, but she doesn’t need to be.
In essence, the 28-year-old is the funniest person at the bar. She makes weird faces, and cracks witty jokes. She gets oddly inspirational at times. She’s just sort of goofy.
The best example of this came mid-show, when on request, she “landsharked.”
Landsharking — putting your hand up behind your back and pretending you’re a shark — is pure Jenna Marbles.
“To all the older people here — that’s the internet,” Marbles said. “That’s it. It’s the stupidest thing.”
After gifting the crowd a verse of her impression of Hillary Clinton rapping like Nicki Minaj (give it a second, it’s a few layers deep), Marbles made no effort to mask her disdain for another political player — Donald Trump.
“You know, I try my best not to be too political of a person, but man, he’s kind of an idiot,” Marbles said. “He’d go into another country negotiating things for us and he’d be like ‘here’s my gold toilet.'”
Marbles made sure to mention that her time in Durham was well spent, and that she was honored to be on campus.
“I saw the waterfalls over at the American Tobacco thing, and I was like whoa, water,” Marbles said. “You guys laugh, but out in California we don’t have any of that.”
As naturally funny as she was, Marbles was consistently hindered by her God-awful moderator. Dead air in-between questions thanks to unexpectedly awkward banter from the evening’s guide made it impossible for the comedian to establish a rhythm early, leaving the first half of the event disjointed. Even a mediocre moderator could have allowed Marbles to get into a groove. It wasn’t until the pre-selected questions were exhausted that the night became lively.
When Marbles was able to field questions at her own pace, the conversation picked up. She was comfortable in control, and it showed.
At times, Marbles, who graduated with a Masters Degree in sports psychology and counseling from Boston University, doled out life advice, often based on a common theme — just be yourself.
“Isn’t being a wise person just knowing how much you don’t know about life,” Marbles asked. “People try to tell me what works and what doesn’t work, and I’m like ‘Dude, you’re fucking lying right now. No one knows anything.”
The advice often came from unlikely sources though. After I facetiously asked “the patron saint Drake’ life motto is ‘You Only Live Once.’ What is your mantra,” Marbles chuckled, but dove into a monologue about how following your dreams is the most important thing a person can do.
“No one should ever hold you back in any way, shape, or form,” Marbles said. “Put yourself first.”
And in a way, that’s what this evening was all about. 1500 or so Duke students independently decided that spending a night with a Youtube entertainer was the best possible way to live their lives, and truthfully, I’m glad I was one of them.