Scripps Presents welcomes comedian Atsuko Okatsuka at Garrison Theater

Atsuko Okatsuka raises hand and speaks into microphone during live performance
Atsuko Okatsuka’s performed a stand up routine at the Garrison Theater on Sept. 21 as part of the ongoing Scripps Presents series. (Esha Champsi • The Student Life)

As ABBA blasted through the venue’s speakers, a diverse array of audience members from the 5Cs and the greater Claremont community were abuzz. Hundreds took their seats, ready to spend the evening watching the performance of esteemed Japanese American comedian Atsuko Okatsuka.

Okatsuka’s evening stand-up routine took place on Sept. 21 in the Garrison Theater at Scripps College. The event was hosted by Scripps Presents, a series of events dedicated to highlight thoughtful conversations, interactive performances and inspirational talks for 5C students and the greater Claremont community.

Fresh off her 2022 hit HBO special “The Intruder,” Okatsuka entered the stage to screeching applause from the audience.

Okatsuka started her set with a quip that broke down the barriers between herself and the audience.

“All the weirdos are here,” Okatsuka said. “I know my people. We are all the ones who had to have a personality. The black sheep in our families.”

Okatsuka’s self-deprecating humor was heavily present throughout the 45-minute set, specifically in her descriptions of her relationship with her husband and her yearning for a couple-friendly set of wheels.

“I think the audience loved it,” Robinson said. “I think she’s so real. She’s so authentic — who she is on stage is her voice and her voice only.”

“My dream is to get [my husband and I] a tandem bike,” Okatsuka said. “That way everyone knows we’re together. From the front it looks like one single lonely man on the bicycle. Once he turns the corner, ‘Oh what’s that? Is that Dora the Explorer?’”

In the Q&A portion following her set, a student asked Okatsuka for advice on how to break into comedy.

“Finding your voice is a big thing,” Okatsuka said. “There’s this thing called essential comedy [which is] your perspective on things. When you write an essay, every sentence backs the thesis up. It’s kind of like that with comedy — every joke I have backs up [my perspective].”

Scripps College Director of Events and Conference Services Marcy Robinson agreed with this sentiment, citing the comedian’s voice — and her love for “The Intruder” — as reasons for inviting her to perform.

“I think the audience loved it,” Robinson said. “I think she’s so real. She’s so authentic — who she is on stage is her voice and her voice only.”

Evelyn Keisha SC ’27 appreciated Okatsuka’s candid stand-up, especially the self-deprecating aspects of her performance.

“If I’m ever being funny, it’s usually self-deprecating humor,” Keisha said. “I needed a laugh today and she certainly made me laugh.”

Facebook Comments