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The GW Hatchet


The GW Hatchet

Serving the GW Community since 1904

The GW Hatchet

Review: Hybrid comedy-magic show brings mentalism, bad dating stories to Tonic

A trio of comics preceded magician Max Davidson in Thursday’s show.
Jordan Tovin | Assistant Photo Editor
Comedian Margaret Korinek, a senior studying political journalism, followed the first act with a candid set that energized the crowd.

Comedy mixed with magic once again Thursday for a night of laughter and awe at the new and improved “A Third Floor Variety Show.”

Comedians Ritika Sinha-Chaudhuri, Margaret Korinek and Will Roberts joined magician Max Davidson onstage in Tonic’s third-floor lounge for a sold-out night of stand-up comedy and mentalist magic. This fall’s show was a modified version of GW Comedy Nights’ spring show, where people voted on who “won” between magicians and comedians while the updated edition focused on individual showcases of talent.

The first event’s success, where three out of four shows sold out, inspired the group to convene a second time, with Davidson’s Stand-Up Magic company producing this iteration. While there were only two shows this time around, Sinha-Chaudhuri was added to perform her own set and MC the event. As both the 7 and 9 p.m. shows were packed with eager audiences, the latter show was so full that audience members were forced to stand against walls and sit on beanbags on the floor.

Upon entrance to the venue, with spacious couches to the left and a bar and chair seating to the right, the audience members were tasked with writing down a vivid and specific memory on a small notecard that was then sealed and placed in a clear bowl near the front of the stage to be used at the end of the show for the magic act. Once the crowd got situated with drinks and food from the bar, the show kicked off with a comedy act.

Ritika Sinha-Chaudhuri, Comedian

Parked where economic policy meets sexual innuendos

Sinha-Chaudhuri, a junior majoring in political science and economics, kicked off the show with a lively set filled with jokes that bridged the gap between her academic and social life. She poked fun at her pretend stock investments and Khan Academy lessons while also joking about praise kinks and the sexual nature of college students.

She captivated the audience with relatable college material, at one time joking about the frequent interruptions of ambulance sirens on campus, only to be interrupted minutes later by a wailing ambulance passing by. She said the highlight of her sets comes from a different sound — when the audience breaks down laughing following her jokes.

“There’s a moment when it’s really quiet, and then I finish the joke and then it’s loud again, I love that,” she said.

Margaret Korinek, Comedian

Everyone’s favorite cool aunt

Korinek, a senior majoring in political communication, followed the first act with a candid set that energized the crowd. Her act was a well-developed mix of jokes about the dire state of dating in D.C. and the struggles that come with your ex getting together with a girl who owns a boat. Her ability to laugh at herself was more than entertaining, and it was empowering to see a female comic not shy away from any topic.

Korinek is the founder and director of GW Comedy Nights, where she has worked to add more female voices to a male-dominated field. She said she has learned to navigate being a woman in comedy, learning to view it as a strength and not a weakness.

“I’m going to talk about girly things for 15 minutes, and I’m going to have everyone in the room laugh, to show that just because something isn’t directly relatable to you doesn’t mean that it can’t be funny,” she said.

She said that pursuing comedy at GW has helped her step out of her comfort zone and make friends, and though she hopes to continue comedy in some form in the future, she is content with whatever happens.

“When I see myself ten years from now, whether I’m headlining a show or just making people laugh at a dinner party, that will be enough for me,” she said.

Will Roberts, Comedian

Five out of five stars, he should have his own Netflix show

Roberts, a senior majoring in journalism, rounded out the comedy section of the show with a knee-slap-worthy final act. From start to finish, he commanded the stage and captured the hearts of the audience. His facial expressions and mannerisms were goofy and lovable, and his jokes spread across an array of topics, from Osama Bin Laden to fifty-year-olds with Elf Bars.

His set was a hysterical mix of self-deprecating self humor and politically inspired jokes — poking fun at his emerging bald spot and his lack of success in the dating field.

Roberts is the general manager of GW-TV, where he also works on the sketch-comedy show District Debrief. He aspires to pursue a career in comedy post-grad, and after hearing the amount of laughs he gathered, he should find success in this.

“My goal is to have an income,” he said. “No, I want to move to New York, hopefully Brooklyn and do stand-up.”

Max Davidson, Magician

A mind-boggling crossover between comedy and magic

Davidson, a GW alum who majored in political communication, was the sole magic act of the night, but he left the audience satisfied. He was captivating with his magic tricks and his comedic commentary.

Davidson, a full-time professional magician in New York City, specializes in a type of magic called mentalism, a form that relies on audience participation and the magician’s interpretation of audience member behavior to perform their tricks.

“For me, magic is an interactive thing,” he said.

This show was certainly no exception. Davidson started with a mathematical trick that shocked the crowd when he initially seemed to incorrectly guess the numbers people were thinking before he revealed that if you added and multiplied the numbers together, they equaled his answer. He then moved on to an even more awe-worthy game of mind-reading, correctly detailing audience members’ selected memories, birthdays and even phone passwords.

He followed his mind-reading tricks with a slightly dangerous pin-swallowing stunt and then predicted a participant’s guess about the number of jelly beans in a jar. Every single stunt defied reality — and the crowd loved it. He said that a large reason for his performing on campus again was the chance to reunite with friends and perform on his old stomping grounds.

“It’s so, so fun to get to do a show with your friends,” he said.

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