The root of Nicole Byer’s comedy is a frank candidness that is hard to ignore. So it was no surprise when the comedian and actress brought that same energy to a stand-up set earlier this week at Ground Zero Performance Cafe.
The show was presented by SAGE, the Student Assembly for Gender Empowerment, as a way to celebrate Body Love Month.
Throughout her set, she would comment on audience reactions (or lack thereof) and even on her own jokes. At one point she even invited conversation with the audience, asking for bad dating app stories from the crowd.
Byer is known for hosting the Netflix competition show “Nailed It!” and MTV’s “Girl Code.” She also has a podcast, “Why Won’t You Date Me?” where she asks former flames (and other fun friends and guests) that very question.
“I just love hearing people’s trauma, it has nothing to do with my set,” Byer said after listening to the audience’s stories.
No topic was off limits for Byer as she rattled through jokes about every aspect of her identity — as a comedian, a woman of color, and a single woman. She brought up shocking things people have said to her or that she has experienced.
“It might sound like I hate men...but I do,” said Byer. The largely female audience clapped in response. “But I do want a boyfriend,” she added.
Her frankness combined with her humor makes the audience feel as though they are in conversation with a friend once they get past the discomfort of being so candid with someone they haven’t met. This may be easier to get past because she is a familiar face from TV.
Byer also spoke about her experiences on “Nailed It!” She spoke about the experience of being on family-friendly programming and amassing younger fans while most of her content is explicitly adult. She also joked about her dislike for children. Her little anecdotes about her time on set and with her fellow host, Jacques Torres, were an added treat for fans of the show in attendance.
The comedian embraces every aspect of herself through her comedy. She accepts that she will never be able to twerk and is comfortable enough to bring up jokes about her body. She even shared a story of her crying drunk on a toilet eating a Shake Shack burger while singing “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.” Even though that may be her self-described rock bottom, it lifted the room with riotous laughter.