Preacher Lawson traveled from Los Angeles to Athens to steal the stage and give Ohio University students and their siblings an enjoyable Friday night experience.
Due to Lawson performing for the annual Sibs Weekend, he kept his material fairly clean, lighthearted and engaging for audience members of all ages.
Lawson first gained fame on America’s Got Talent season 12, when he was a finalist. He returned on America’s Got Talent: The Champions, where he finished fifth. Lawson used that loss as a humorous ice-breaker with the crowd to transition into expressing how thankful he was to have had the opportunity to have America’s Got Talent as a platform to further his stand-up career.
Before Lawson even stepped foot on stage, the energy in the nearly-packed MemAud was evident. Audience members were discussing his tour schedule and his previous performances on America’s Got Talent.
Expectedly, Lawson walked out to a roaring crowd and a loud flood of applause. He began his set by criticizing Ohio’s bleak weather compared to Los Angeles’, which many audience members laughed at and understood.
Lawson used his race and several other topics many would consider taboo, such as his brother’s sexuality and stereotypical gender roles, to provoke a reaction from the audience. However, Lawson also joked about simpler, playful matters, such as veganism, ex-girlfriends, previous jobs, living at home as an adult and growing up as a complete geek. He even gained popularity among Ohioans by sharing his new material. By doing so, Lawson immediately established a friendly, intimate relationship with the crowd.
The stand-up comedian has two assets that arguably set him apart from other comedians. The first is his tendency to not only use his words to convey a comedic message, but his whole body. Lawson ran around the stage goofily, jiggling and jerking in eccentric ways, making eminent faces, sounds and gestures.
Secondly, Lawson interacted with the audience throughout the whole hour-and-a-half act by calling out individual audience members’ peculiar laughs and those who would get up during his performance. Undoubtedly, the audience loved how Lawson improvised off whatever it was that grabbed his attention and then reverted back to his planned material.
Overall, Lawson’s show was adored. It also can’t be ignored that his reciprocity truly resonated with the audience
Quentin Kurtz, a freshman studying stage management, invited his friend, Garrett Dangerfield, from Fort Lupton, Colorado, to spend the weekend with him.
“We wanted to have a good night, and we saw (Lawson) on America’s Got Talent and wanted to see what it was about and thought it was a great show,” Kurtz said. “I really liked the interaction with the audience in the beginning.”
Daniel Monks, a sophomore studying cultural anthropology, was looking for something fun to do with his sister for Sibs Weekend since she had come in from Houston, so they decided to check out Lawson’s set.
“I thought, might as well go to this show, and my dad got so excited because he watched America’s Got Talent,” Monks said. “I had no clue who Preacher was, but then I got here, and he was actually really funny the whole way through. He had slow parts, but it always built back up.”
Caroline Mattox, a high school sophomore from Gahanna, was visiting her sister, Julia Mattox, a freshman studying marketing, when they decided a comedy show would be the perfect way to kick off sibling’s weekend.
“I liked his delivery on all of his jokes and the ease of allowing audience interaction,” Mattox said. “The whole show flowed really well. I would 10 out of 10 recommend other people to go and watch him.”