Written By: Sam Coulson
As students flooded into Grafton, the iconic mantra “on Wednesdays we wear pink” seemed to echo. UPB members were all decked out in pink shirts in honor of Daniel Franzese, known widely for his role as “Damien” in the now classic film Mean Girls, who was performing for Comedy Night.
The night began with a long line of people outside of Grafton excitedly buzzing over their love of the film. Alice Klein, a Sophomore Psychology major, was feeding off the energy.
“I’m really excited to laugh,” she said. “I’m hoping for a little inside info on Mean Girls too.”
As the crowd made their way into the theatre, UPB warmed everyone up with trivia about the film. As each question was asked, a vast sea of hands shot up excitedly. Those who answered a question correctly received a pink, Mean Girls themed UPB shirt. When a free shirt is involved, the energy and the stakes are both high.
As trivia winded down, Daniel Franzese burst onstage, greeting the enthusiastic crowd. He then began his stand-up set, first taking the opportunity to explain the title of his tour, “Yass, You’re Amazing!” He launched into a bit on how the young people today tend to overuse the word “amazing,” though he informed the crowd that it was his mother who first observed this.
Much of his set was spent discussing his mother along with his upbringing in a household with two Italian parents. He shared a number of hilarious anecdotes about his parents, gushing about the wholesome food and intense conversations he endured. “I’m a big proponent of medicinal mozzarella,” he joked.
After his standup, he opened up the floor to questions from the crowd. People grilled him with questions on the making of Mean Girls, looking for the inside scoop. Franzese took a moment to move away from humor and discuss the impact of Damien as a character. He spoke to the importance of representation, urging any creators in the audience to think about positive depictions in their work.
In speaking to Damien as an iconic character, Junior Vocal Music Education major Molly Cohlink shared, “I’m being Damien for Halloween with all my friends! I’m a huge fan of the movie and I’ve also seen the musical.”
The event was a great way to connect with the movie on a new level. It was exciting to see more from Franzese and hear about his life after Mean Girls launched his career. His insights about Damien and the cultural response to him were thoughtful and exciting, as Damien was one of the early iconic gay characters in a teen movie.
“It’s great that something big like this is free,” said Junior Communication Sciences and Disorders major and UPB member Elizabeth Shelley. “It’s different compared to our concerts or other paid events.” The accessibility of the event allowed for Franzese’s positive messages on representation and inclusivity, particularly with the LGBTQ+ community, to reach a wider audience.
After his set was over, Franzese took the time to give out headshots and take selfies with audience members before UPB put on a free showing of Mean Girls. It was an excellent night for fans of the film and those who just needed to laugh.