Comedy Night at the Laugh Factory is a Stuy tradition. This year’s Senior Comedy Night, held Friday, November 30, and Soph-Frosh Comedy Night, held Friday, December 7, hosted an outstanding group of talented stand-up comedians.
Though the turnout was low—around 100 seniors attended the senior event, while a total of 90 sophomores and freshmen attended the soph-frosh event—those who attended left with splitting sides.
Senior class president Michelle Lee and vice president Lauren Gonzalez organized Senior Comedy Night, while Soph-Frosh Comedy Night was organized by sophomore class president Valeriya Tsitron, vice president Casey Griffin, freshman president Oren Bukspan and vice president Jessie Lawrence.
“We made back all the money we’d borrowed from the [Student Union] as a down, payment as well as a profit,” Tsitron said. “This is due to us being much more organized this year, our second time organizing the event, after last year.”
Senior Comedy Night began with Steve Marshall, who charmed the audience with his confident demeanor and casual humor.
“I got a degree in accounting and then turned down a prestigious job with Price Waterhouse to follow my dream and become a comedian,” he said at the beginning of his act. He warmed up the audience with his views on culture, comedy and New York City. As the night progressed however, his jokes became crude, often relying on shock value to elicit laughter.
The next comic, Russ Meneve, had a more relaxed vibe and used his unapologetic nature to his advantage. “I just broke up with my girlfriend through e-mail,” he said. “That’s the best ay to do it, isn’t it fellas?” His material focused on relationships, and pointed towards the couples in the audience.
While he maintained his wolfish smile throughout his performance, Meneve’s material took on a hard edge.
“Sure he was funny,” senior Ahmed Ghanem said. “But he got mean near the end.”
Joe DeRosa, with his friendly and self-deprecating humor, provided a refreshing contrast to the performers before him. He joked mostly about pop culture and his religious upbringing.
Event producer and comic Geoff Kole delivered jokes on ethnic stereotypes. He also performed at last year’s Junior Comedy Night. “Some of you may have seen me before,” he said, before telling an old joke involving his frustration with a telephone operator.
The rest of his jokes, however, were fresh and original. Kole was able to make fun of others without being mean-spirited. “He somehow managed to tell these jokes without being offensive,” senior Kevin Phu said.
The headliner of the show, comic Kyle Grooms, had incredible stage presence. The audience welcomed his quirkiness and spontaneity. After someone heckled him, he laughed and said, “The only rule I have here is that you can’t be funnier than me.” Most of his jokes dealt with his identity as an African-American and provided serious social commentary on race, poverty and discrimination.
When he finished his set, the audience applauded him back to the stage for a quick bow. “I liked that he wasn’t in a routine,” senior Samy Dolah said. “He treated us as friends rather than an audience.”
Soph-Frosh Comedy Night was markedly different from its senior counterpart. The comics were instructed to refrain from using excessive profanity or adult themes. Yet, there was more interaction between the audience and the comedians. At times, the crowd’s chatter became overwhelming.
The first comic, Joe Rocha, said, “I feel like a substitute teacher you’re all playing with.” Despite the rowdy audience, Rocha successfully told a series of stories about his Latin upbringing. Though Rocha accidentally popped out his microphone, the crowd was eager for him to continue his routine.
Andy Vestolla, the second performer, was extremely clever, somehow incorporating wit into a topic as ordinary as his pet cat. His comedy was relatable, since it dealt with the struggles of day-to-day life.
DeRosa, however, gave a lackluster performance. He attempted to deliver the same repertoire he performed in Senior Comedy Night, but was unable to do so without adult themes and stopped halfway.
The audience became restless, and knew DeRosa was struggling when he asked the security guard what kind of jokes he wanted to hear. It was disappointing to see DeRosa quickly wrap up his set.
“It was clear that he came unprepared,” sophomore Ashleigh Bowie said. “He kept asking us what kind of jokes we wanted to hear. That’s really unprofessional.”
These restrictions on more mature humor also forced Kole to alter his act. He chose to share his experiences at summer camp. His performance was well-rehearsed and -executed. “It was clear that everything was well thought out,” sophomore Wendy Ho said. “But he did some of the same jokes as last year.”
The most memorable comic of the night, Wali Collins, was the last performer. While he delivered a standard repertoire of jokes on life in New York City and racial stereotypes, his impersonation of Barack Obama was hilarious. “He kept the audience participation under control,” sophomore David So said. “He had better jokes than everyone else.”
For both nights, chips, salsa and drinks were provided throughout, and a raffle was held at the end.
“It was a great way to spend a night,” freshman Anca Dogaroiu said.