By Kayla Caldwell
It’s Tuesday night around 8:00, “American Idol” sucks this year, and “Glee” isn’t on until next week, so what is there to do? Well, I don’t know where you were, but I know where you should have been: Wise Guys comedy club. Tonight was the Regional Rival match of Syracuse vs. Cornell for The Rooftop Comedy National College Comedy Competition.
TBS presents this event, which scours the country (well, 32 colleges) for the funniest college students in America. There are six rounds in the competition which all lead to the finals in Aspen, Colorado in which one team will be dubbed “Funniest Comedy Team.” Also, at the semi-finals, one member from each of the four teams left will be chosen as the MVP and win a trip to perform in Chicago for the “Very Funny Festival: Just for Laughs.”
The night started with an introduction and a sneak preview of TBS’s new animated show, “Neighbors From Hell.” Then the host stepped up for his 10 minutes of fame that night, a writer for SNL’s Weekend Update. It ended a little short because he admitted he didn’t have enough material and we probably didn’t want to keep listening to him – a good judgment call on his part. His strange jokes about parenting (why is it cute when his baby girl pees on the carpet, but not when he does it?) and fairly gruesome comparison of what it feels like to perform in front of nervous comedians were more awkward than funny.
The main event’s arrangement was a 3-minute performance of each comedian, alternating from Cornell to Syracuse. The performers ranged from pretty funny to a little uncomfortable, which I was expecting since most of them are new to this.
My favorite performances of the night were from SU student Justin Trimm, and Cornell students Ryan Stanisz and Daniel (Or Danielle, as the host mispronounced it) Kenkel.
Key jokes included a bit about shaky nerves – “Michael J. Fox does have me beat, but he’s gonna die soon,” to the phenomenon of senile aunts giving the family pearls to a boy – “I wore them anyway. Did I lose friends? Yes,” and ventriloquism radio acts.
Of course, there were also the ones that I just didn’t quite get. One SU student started off decently with jokes referencing Aladdin, but somehow he ventured off into the awkward when he began talking about the undesirability of virginity. It sounds funny, but it took an uncomfortable turn. He mentioned that a past girlfriend dumped him because of his virginity, and that just left the audience feeling bummed. The few funny things that the host said were shots at this act.
Another strange performance was one in which a Cornell comedian chose to do a skit rather than standup. The skit was based upon a problem: he was part of a duo, and his brother didn’t show up. The audience got to see him start jokes and then laugh at the punch line; play one line of a song on his banjo; and react to questions his brother planned to ask an audience member that would have participated in an interview.
The eight students that were voted to participate in the special Comic’s Challenge, which put them on the spot to think up one good joke related to the topic (not fitting in) were: Justin Trimm, Ian Smith, Alex Adelson, and Jonathan Baker from SU, and their Cornell competitors: Ryan Stanisz, Amanda Pawlak, Cody Ernst, and Daniel Kenkel.
Overall it was definitely a night full of laughs, whether or not the comedians supplied them. Since the event was sponsored by TBS, videos of the performances will be uploaded onto its website so that people can vote on which school should move forward in the competition.
So if you are feeling a swell of SU pride, or are just curious to hear about radio ventriloquism, log onto http://www.rooftopcomedy.com/college/ to vote.
Kayla Caldwell works as the entertainment web editor at The Student Voice. She is a sophomore magazine and Spanish major at SU.