On Tuesday Feb. 15 at 6:15 pm, the doors opened at the Student Union Auditorium for students to see YouTuber, podcaster, singer and stand-up comedian Noel Miller.
Most of Miller’s live shows sell-out so naturally, there was a line wrapped around the Student Union and out into the courtyard hours before the doors even opened. Some students had waited as early as 1 pm for Miller’s stand-up comedy show.
By 7 pm, everyone was settled, and the 5’8” “short king” walked on stage to a roar of cheering from the audience.
After the cheering and initial excitement subsided, Miller began.
“Raise your hand if this is your first comedy show,” Miller said. “Alright, I gotta warm you up, okay? First of all, this ain’t Youtube, okay? So don’t interrupt me.”
Miller started his routine with some observational comedy from the crowd, getting his bearings of what the audience was like, their fashion choices, all the way down to how they would greet him before speaking.
He spotted a student wearing a sweatshirt from his longtime comedy collaborator and friend Cody Kowith whom he partners on musical duos, YouTube videos and the popular podcast “Tiny Meat Gang.”
“Don’t do that. That ain’t even my merch,” Miller said. “What’re you showin’ me another man’s merch for? I think you got the wrong show. Cody’s not here.”
Miller also asked the students who had waited the longest to see him to reveal themselves.
“Some of you have been waiting here since like one o’clock. Who was that?” Miller said. About 18 students in the front of the auditorium raised their hands. “Wow, all of you? You guys are losers, man.”
The first half of Miller’s set varied from adderall, darker jokes about suicide and how everyone had a family computer in the living room when they were younger.
Eventually, Miller found out the name of UT’s football team.
Volunteers? Let me process that,” Miller said. “So, it sounds just like former addicts who liked wanted to play sports?”
Another student in the audience explained the war-relation to the Volunteers.
“Like war? Like militia, oh. Of course, ‘It’s just the way Trump would’ve liked it! It’s how this great nation was built.’ Oh, shut up,” Miller said, bursting into laughter. “That’s interesting.”
The second half of his set covered more family-oriented jokes and a further insight into his dark childhood.
“I think I grew up really fast partially because of the Internet, partially because of the way I grew up, but partially because I hit puberty real weird,” Miller said. “I didn’t grow up, clearly… But I started sounding like this at 11.”
He talked about how his father didn’t communicate often but would talk to Miller more like a friend and would have Miller help his parents through their own relationship problems. Miller was open when talking about his abusive mother and finding ways to joke about it.
“My mom, she was just more old school, ya know. Hit a kid,” Miller said. “She was scary, she was like Thanos, bro. She was a nurse, so she’d wake up in the middle of the day. Every time she woke up, I’d see my toys start levitating.”
Miller’s mother was very verbal in her abuse towards him. He went into detail about the abuse through his jokes.
“She’d come out of her room and put on like cinematic ass-whoopings”. You know, like she could hit two kids at once,” Miller said. “I remember one time she was goin’ in on my cousin. And in the middle of beating her ass, she takes the object she was hitting my cousin with and she looks at me, ‘Noel, you’re not my kid. But if you were, I’d hit you, too.’ She turned right back to my cousin and starts beating her ass.”
Students’ excitement for the show was evident not only from their reactions and laughter, but also simply from the sheer number of people who attended.
Heidi Sturzl, a sophomore accounting major and Campus Events Board member on the entertainment committee who helped plan the event, said that last semester, numbers for events were roughly 200 to 300 students. For Miller’s show, however, they let in over 900 people. Sturzl said this was a big change but still enjoyed working on the event.
“It was really interesting but also really stressful because this is a really big event since the pandemic so it was really hard to transition, but it was really fun and enjoyable,” Sturzl said.
Overall, the substantially set from the type of varied content Miller is known for on YouTube and in podcasts and songs. Students were pleasantly surprised with the change.
“I was surprised because it’s not like his YouTube content,” Morgan Issacs, a senior environmental soil science major, said. “But I actually really liked it. He was very real, so it was very relatable.”
The surprises were not only entertaining for students but some felt that it added to the interaction and intimacy of the show. Chelsea Hall, senior journalism and English double major, said Miller engaged the entire audience.
“I think him calling people out in the crowd really expanded the experience,” Hall said. “He like made, I think everyone feel a part of the experience, like he did a great job including the whole audience and I just didn’t expect that… he made it our experience.”
Hall and her friend, Maddie Kamradt, a senior marketing major, were a few of the many people called out by Miller during the show. Miller picked on them for their matching cow-print cowboy hats and shirts that read, “Good girls go to church, bad girls go to Noel Miller.”
“Matching hats, was that planned?” Miller said. “What’s the bit? You don’t even know.”
The two of them got to be part of the meet and greet after the show, where Miller did not let them live the shirts down.
“When he saw us, he said, ‘Oh no, it’s you two,'” Hall said.
The event concluded with a Q&A. Some questions were serious, but most were not, like ones asking what kind of meat he gets at Chipotle and how he got his doctor to say he’s 5’8″.
Miller’s love for this kind of event shone through at the Q&A as he engaged students, even when he was mostly making fun of them. Miller uses a wide array of forms to create his wildly popular content with YouTube videos, songs and podcasts. Even so, Miller revealed that stand-up is his preferred type of comedy.
“What’s my favorite content to make?” Miller said. “This is my favorite thing. I love this more than anything.”