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Comedian James travels across the pond to CMU

Although few students were familiar with comedian Chris James before attending his performance Tuesday, the Bovee University Center Rotunda roared with laughter once he took the stage.

Students immediately reacted to the unexpected accent of the black British comedian, who entertained students by opening the show with jokes about how his English accent never ceases to surprise Americans.

"If you hadn't noticed, my voice isn't very intimidating," James said. "When I had to break up a fight one time, I did my best impression of my friend's Brooklyn accent and it seemed to work."

James also described cultural differences between England and the United States, like his confusion when American women weren't impressed with the moped he purchased in California.

"It's chic and fashionable in Europe," James said. "Here you just sound like you're riding an angry wasp, next to the guy on the Harley."

James also discussed his relationships and showed off a wide range of impressions, including ex-girlfriends, South African thugs and President Barack Obama.

His most notable impression was of the president, which he used to prank call the families of several students in the audience. A handful of volunteers made their way to the stage and held their cell phones up to the mic, including Lake City freshman Cyndee Arnold.

Arnold called both of her parents, telling them she had met Obama. James then improvised his way through a phone call as the Chief of State, much to the confusion of Arnold's parents.

"It was my first time seeing Chris James," Arnold said. "(My parents) didn't believe is. His impression was really great, especially since he normally has an English accent."

While her parents didn't buy the joke, the audience certainly did.

Program Board selected Chris James to perform after seeing his work at the National Association for Campus Activities conference in Covington, Kentucky last November.

"All of us loved Chris' performance because his British humor was different than other comedians we have worked with," said Program Board Director Josh Palmer. "There was a high demand for Chris."

Detroit sophomore Henry Ellis was pleasantly surprised by the British comedian.

"Everyone seemed engaged, and I was expecting all dirty jokes and it was really clean," Ellis said. "It was a pleasant surprise."