Messenger - Vol. 1, No. 2, Page 19
Winter 1992
Alumni Profile; Comedian high on the sea of comedy
     Twenty-eight-year-old Cindy Eaton, a self-described writer,
comedian and "all-around fun chick," wants to make you laugh-without
being offensive.
     "My persona on stage has just developed into this very friendly,
accessible, regular gal," she says. "It's just like hanging out and
chit-chatting with one of your best friends.
     "That's the kind of relationship I want with the audience," Eaton
says. "I don't want to shake them up. I don't want to set the world on
fire. I want to have a good time with them, and I want them to have
     A regular on the New York City club circuit for the last two
years, Eaton, Delaware '85, says she works very hard to avoid hurting
anyone's feelings with her jokes. Clearly, comedians like Andrew Dice
Clay do not amuse her.
     "He's definitely got a character there," she says of Clay, "but I
don't think it's funny. You know, he's doing nothing to bring any of
us closer together. I think it's scary watching big groups of people
laugh at those kinds of things.
     "Not that I'm going to change the world with my jokes," she says,
"but comedians do have a forum and we ought to be responsible about
using it."
     During a "Wacky Women of Comedy" night in November at
Wilmington's Comedy Cabaret, Eaton showed that stand-up comedians need
not offend any segment of their audience to be funny.
     In a well-received, 30-minute monologue, the University
communications graduate talked about the merits of showers versus
baths, the different personalities of cats and dogs and myriad other
subjects from our daily lives.
     "I grew up in Delaware," she told the audience. "I travel and
people have no idea what I'm talking about. It's like, 'Delaware? What
state's that in?' I say, 'We are one, you know. We are a state.' We
were first, right? They have no idea.
     "This is what I don't get. If we were first, how come we didn't
take up more space? If you think about it, it's like being first in
line at a brand new salad bar: You can have whatever you want, but you
say, 'Oh, I'll just take this crouton.' "
     Dressed comfortably in a white T-shirt and jeans, Eaton, who has
appeared on Into the Night with Rick Dees, VH-1 and MTV's Half-Hour
Comedy Hour, also tested the audience's knowledge of traditional
anniversary gifts.
     "For a year of marriage, do you know what that gift is?" she
asked the audience. "Paper...and that makes sense, right? Because one
year is not that long a time and paper is not that good a gift.
     "You want some good gifts, you're going to do some serious time.
You want some silver? Do your 25 years. Gold? Do 50. Fifty years for
gold! I think they want you damn near dead before you get gold. I
guess that's so they can just take it right back: 'Yeah, it's the
thought that counts and I thought you'd be dead by now.'"
     Eaton also discussed her recent tour of the Midwest. "It was nice
driving around out there," she says, "'cause you get to see a lot of
cows, which you will not see in New York City...unless there's a sale
on at Macy's."
     Among Eaton's favorite comedians are Paula Poundstone and Jerry
Seinfeld. Both, she says, have a "quirky" delivery and an interesting
way of looking at the world. But Eaton's own perceptions aren't
exactly boring.
     "Have you ever cut somebody off on the highway?" she asked the
audience. "I cut this guy off so bad one time, so bad. My first
instinct was to turn around and look at him, which you think would be
really stupid, right? 'Cause what's he going to be doing but sitting
there giving me the bird?
     "And, yet, I felt that I had earned the bird, and I owed it to
him to be there for him to receive it."
     After her monologue, Eaton says, "I think growing up I always
harbored this little secret dream of wanting to be a comedic performer
of some sort. I wanted to make people laugh."
     A fan of Carol Burnett since she was 7 years old ("I wanted to be
her."), Eaton says she hopes to one day attract comedic television and
film roles. She has already won an award from the National Academy of
Television Arts and Sciences for writing, producing and directing a
"dramedy" short. Meanwhile, she is happy with stand-up comedy.
     "I toyed with stand-up for a long time," she says. "Finally, I
said, 'You know, I either have to get in this boat and see where it
goes or I have to get on the pier where it's safe, because standing
with a foot on the boat and a foot on the pier is incredibly
     -Stephen M. Steenkamer, Delaware '92