Comedian takes audience on nostalgic trip

Rachel Baggett, Staff Writer

Comedian Pat Hazell of “The Wonder Bread Years” transported the audience at the Performing Arts Center back to their childhood on Friday, Oct. 7 at 7:30 pm.

After showing the audience a quick black and white video of old commercials and clips from old television shows, Hazell briefly spoke about his views on childhood and the idea behind the routine.

“This is a time [when] you had a keen sense of wonder, so tonight we explore our sense of wonder, where we lost it and how to get it back,” Hazell said.

Everything in the performance, from the set that contained the staples of a typical childhood home and the old commercials theme songs played during the intermission, kept with the theme of remembering wonder and childhood.

The performance, which lasted about an hour and a half, was separated into two parts. The first part featured Hazell telling jokes and stories that mostly focused around the events that happen to a child before, at and after school.

The second half of the performance started like the first half with a black and white video and featured a theme of family and family experiences such as holidays and vacations.

During his routine, Hazell went beyond simply telling jokes about his childhood experiences and memories. For nearly every joke he told, Hazell had either the actual object he was talking about or some other visual aid. Near the end of his performance, Hazell even showed the audience pictures from his childhood in a slideshow presentation that incorporated another nostalgic act.

Hazell also communicated frequently with the audience and used their input for his jokes. During a joke about show-and-tell, Hazell asked members of the audience for the best or most unusual item that they had ever brought to or saw at a show-and-tell. This exchange ended with one audience member describing the glass eye that her teacher brought in and another audience member claiming to have brought in her mother’s appendix.

Hazell worked in some theatrical aspects to his routine. After venting about being denied the chance to perform in his 6th grade talent show, Hazell performed his new audition for the audience by putting a cocktail napkin in his mouth and setting it on fire.

The show ended with Hazell cutting out a paper snowflake, crumpling it up and turning into an actual snowfall while describing the excitement of a child at the sight of the first snowflake.

“I’m hoping that everyone sees the reflection of their own childhoods and vacations…in the performance tonight because the true experience of tonight is to unlock that simple memory that will bring you joy,” Hazell said.

Laura Sims, the Director of the PAC, had nothing but praise for Hazell’s performance after the show.

“I thought it was wonderful,” Sims said. “It doesn’t matter if you are ten or forty…the jokes relate to all ages…and show the wonder in memory.”