Pat Hazell, a comedian named as one of the five funniest people in America, according to Showtime, performed his show The Wonder Bread Years yesterday in the K-State Student Union.
“I wrote and produced The Wonder Bread Years while on hiatus from working on the TV series Seinfeld as a special consultant,” Hazell said. “I realized that people have a real affection for nostalgia and Americana when they were going to Ebay to snap up things from their youth, trying to recapture something from the past that made them feel good.”
Hazell wrote a lot of reflective humor about pop culture and the activities that everyone did growing up which became The Wonder Bread Years. The show featured standup comedy but had the added value of engaging the audience to think about their own childhoods.
The beginning of the production consisted of a video compilation about everything baby boomer, from silly putty to firecrackers. His comedy sketch referenced many aspects of baby boomer childhoods from the holiday traditions of having adult and kids tables, to simply the twisted ideology of not being allowed sugary soda pop while still being allowed Kool-Aid.
“It looks at our sense of wonder, where we lost it and how we get it back, and since it is a thesis on a collective American consciousness, it reminds us that we have a lot more in common than we have differences,” Hazell said. “It doesn’t matter how old you are, you still have certain common denominators in your life with all other human beings on the planet.”
From writing and planning to execution, plenty of work goes into a comedic sketch.
“I had to sit down and write a 90-minute show and memorize it and then try to book at performing arts centers,” Hazell said. “It was quite an undertaking. It took a couple of years to develop into the performance you see to today, and it changes every night with the audience interaction.”
The audience primarily consisted of individuals 40 years and older, several of whom expressed appreciation for the chance to reconnect with a piece of their past.
“I loved the chance to get to laugh with my fellow baby boomers. It brought back good memories of my childhood and allowed me to connect with the other Manhattanites from my generation,” Pattie Hill, former Manhattan resident, said.
Though humorous and fun, the sketch offered insight into the past, the history and rich culture of the baby boomer generation.
“The truth makes for great humor, especially when it’s the truth of the past you can relate to,” Donald Humbee, current Manhattan resident, said.
Hazell values the experiences he has gained and the joy he gets to bring to others.
“The show has had a profound impact on my attitude, because it is so much fun to do and people really connect to the experience,” Hazell said. “The contagious nature of the show means that I get to meet a lot of people and hear their stories about the kooky things they did growing up. It has also afforded me the opportunity to travel all over America and see some unique places I would have never discovered otherwise. Most importantly, it helps me keep a childlike perspective on things, which helps me as a father with my own kids.”