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Sammy Obeid’s calculated comedy

What do you get when you add a Middle Eastern upbringing, a lifetime of strange experiences, a math degree and a sharp, fast-paced sense of humor? The “sines” of a good night.

This past Tuesday, several dozen students piled into the Marty Theater for an hour of stand-up with comedian and mathematician Sammy Obeid, sponsored by ACBU.

Voted Campus Activities Magazine’s “Fastest Rising Star” and known for appearing on shows such as “America’s Got Talent,” “Last Comic Standing” and “Conan,” Obeid’s charisma kept the audience on their toes and full of laughter. He also showed that he calculates his jokes as thoughtfully as his numbers.

His set covered various topics, including his Arab American heritage, observations on current events and his plans to run for president of the United States in 2036 on platforms including abolishing Mondays from the week entirely.

The center of the show hinged on Obeid’s degree in applied mathematics, from which he derived the experience and knowledge to find everyday uses for math. This provided a perspective few would think to look from, striking a balance between entertaining and enlightening.

“It’s crazy, people think that you learn math and you never use it again,” Obeid said. “There’s so many ways to use math in real life; you just have to find the application.”

This idea became apparent as he riffed on subjects such as math’s sexiness: “You can’t even spell ‘sexy’ without X and Y.”

Furthermore, he shared anecdotes about his life that ended with a final punchline that hit audiences when they least expected it, generating some of the biggest laughs of the night.

Obeid spoke about his “plant-based diet” consisting of “plants, or animals that eat plants, or animals that eat animals that eat plants…” He then reminisced about his brief time as a vegetarian, which ended after medical marijuana drove him to eat two rotisserie chickens by himself. In his words, “I killed two birds with one stone.”

The Marty Theater’s size, neither uncomfortably small nor spaciously large, helped the audience to engage and sometimes interact with Obeid in a casual, conversational style.

 

To further enhance the comfy atmosphere, an ACBU table outside the theater offered a bowl of Jolly Ranchers and an assortment of pie slices to each audience member.

 

The set ended with enthusiastic applause, and students left satisfied with the event overall.

 

“It was a great experience,” Ben Reitmeier, freshman mechanical engineering major, said. “It was really funny and I really enjoyed it.”

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