The highly acclaimed intersession course The Stand-Up Comic in Society celebrated its tenth annual showcase on Friday, Jan. 24. Friends of the comedians and course alumnae crowded into Shriver Hall ready to be entertained by their newly-trained peers.
Instructor and showcase host Adam Ruben kicked off the night by briefly introducing the course’s history. Ruben — at the time a hopeful biology PhD candidate — conceived the class in 2005. Upon proposing the course’s design to Hopkins’s administration, the funnyman added “in Society” to the course title as a means of fooling the University into believing his syllabus included sociological discourse. The class was approved and, needless to say, its academic pretense went unchanged.
Each year, Ruben’s apprentices prepare to perform by taking field trips to local comedy clubs and reviewing footage of the best and worst comics in the business. After only 18 days of research and rehearsal, every student delivers a concise routine to a live audience.
One established rule guides the students in drafting: any topic is fair game. Ruben warned audience members that the rookies could cover any subject and use any word. As promised, the mere 16 performers managed to cover unplanned pregnancies, drug abuse and gay sex. Providentially, it is this lewd material that draws the Hopkins student body year after year.
Teaching assistant and 2012 graduate Blake Barnett opened the lineup with a four-minute set. Barnett amused the audience by discussing the misrepresentative Paleo diet, which would more accurately consist of poisonous red berries, fish carcasses and deceased cavemen
Randy Bell followed suit, telling the story of how one untimely sneeze resulted in his needing a pregnancy test from prying UniMini employees. Although the fifth-year masters aspirant guaranteed that happy grad students do not exist, Bell appeared delighted to perform.
Senior Wolfgang Alders trailed Teddy Lefkof, Eddy Kunkel and Brandon Block as the show’s sixth performer. Alders, an archeology major, jokingly poked fun at his German ancestry with a description of his dually jovial and grotesque family Christmases.
Zach David cracked up the crowd with a few profound inquiries regarding the value of unconditional love, subconscious drive and retribution.
Ultimate Frisbee player Will Cameron took the stage after John Paseur to contrast middle school and college dynamics. The freshman noted the stark differences in sleep schedules, hookups and drug use.
Victoria Somerville offered a breath of fresh air as the first of only two female comedians.While Somerville described her frustration with continuous catcalls, Katarina Nguyen later questioned her Asian identity.
The hilarity continued with Griffin Small, James Teasley and Hunt Griffith. In full character as an affluent Caucasian, Griffith reviewed his cozy fireplace, multiple yachts and travels abroad.
The Princeton native possessed impeccable wit and kept the audience roaring with his description of Moroccan goats in trees. The “Queen of England” proved to be one of the set highlights.
Ryan Keenan, similar to Cameron before him, arrived with a large fan-base in tow. After quieting his friends, Keenan refuted Irish stereotypes and related to the audience by restating the last-resort nature of PJ’s Pub — where Keenan both loves and hates to work.
Ruben saved the best for last, thus sophomore Matt Moores closed the show. Making his entrance, Moores theatrically threw aside the red curtain and cut to the chase. He kept the crowd in hysterics with topics including coming out, sex and annoying girls. “That’s right, clap away the loneliness,” Moores sarcastically said after touching on the drawbacks of single living. Moores entertained like a seasoned veteran and left audience members laughing as they exited the hall.
Interested students can enroll in A Comic Stand-Up in Society when intersession 2015 dawns or show support by attending the eleventh final show.