At a school students know to be demanding and stressful, a comedy show may seem improbable. The Intersession class on stand-up comedy offers an escape from the norm, with students’ comedic efforts culminating in a public show in which they deliver their four-minute routines in front of the Hopkins community. The aptly-named Intersession Stand-Up Comedy Show was on Jan. 29, a week later than planned due to winter storm Jonas.
The content was as varied as the acts. There were benign bits about race and religion and more radical jokes about street harassment involving foot fetishes and the role of Jesus in group sex.
This was the first time many audience members heard the voice of a “hypersexualized” Anderson Cooper. Many were also introduced to the use of a coloring book as a way to disguise pornography.
The comedians drew from their experiences at the University, mocking themselves about private embarrassments while also taking shots at the Hopkins community. The audience seemed receptive, and any act that started off with some hesitance quickly loosened up.
Sophomore Santiago Encarnacion spoke about his experience performing, stating that he was happy with the audience’s reaction. The audience itself was vast, and it seemed that almost every seat in Shriver Hall was occupied. Overall the crowd was polite and generous with the fledgling comics.
Sophomore Megha Talur, who attended the show, also felt that the audience had a fairly positive response.
“Overall I felt like the audience was pretty supportive of the performers,” Talur said.
After attending both this year’s and last year’s performances, Talur felt that the inclusion of alumni, as was done in 2015, would have been a welcome element of this year’s performance.
On the surface, a class on stand-up comedy seems light-hearted and fun, but performing in front of a large concert hall can be daunting. While Encarnacion felt as though the class had prepared him for it, he also discussed the ways in which the class lacked direction.
“I felt like there were plenty of opportunities to perform and fine-tune the material but not enough guidance in actual content creation,” Encarnacion said.
In this vein, Encarnacion also noted that the creative process in the class was fairly unstructured. Still, regardless of the challenges of independent development, Encarnacion and his classmates were ultimately successful.
It would be unfair to call this year’s Intersession Stand-Up Comedy Show anything but successful. The attendance was high; The comedians were funny; The crowd was gracious.
Events such as this are crucial in maintaining an atmosphere of tranquility in an environment that many consider high-stress. Despite minor hiccups and perhaps a need for some fine-tuning in the classroom, the show was a hit, with jokes that bounced from the avian flu to marital aids to fellatio to dictators. All that and more was presented by a group of students who were arguably quite a bit braver than anyone in the crowd.