Students stand up in comedy competition

Three very funny students showed they had what it takes to rise to the occasion by securing their spots as finalists at the “Catch a Rising Star College Comedy Challenge,” held on Wednesday, Nov. 8 at the Rathskeller.

The students, Adam Mamawala, sophomore communication studies major, Jason Cantor, freshman business management major, and Vegas Lancaster, sophomore philosophy major, showed off their skills in stand-up comedy, beating out seven other contestants.

The three winners will compete with budding comedians from various colleges at the Catch a Rising Star comedy club in Atlantic City on Dec. 2. Other competing colleges include Rowan University, Centenary College and Stockton College. The ultimate winner will receive a paid spot performing in one of Catch a Rising Star’s comedy clubs.

The 10 student participants performed comedic acts ranging from roommate horror stories to self-deprecating fat jokes. Mamawala became an instant crowd favorite, winning over the audience with his impression of a typical Eickhoff experience.

“Never go into Eickhoff when you’re having a bad day, because most likely you’re going to drop a cup that’s going to bounce for one minute and 45 seconds,” Mamawala said. “What are those cups even made of? Not only do you have everyone in there staring at you, but you have people walking through the door like, ‘Hey! Did someone just drop a cup?'”

“I’ve never been nervous on stage before, but I was tonight. This was pretty big,” Mamawala, who had performed his routine about five or six times at the College and at open mic nights, said after the competition.

The big laughs of the night came from host and touring comedian Rodney Laney, who performed a 30-minute set in between contestants. The New Jersey native had no problem joking about his hometown of Paterson: “Paterson is a tough town. Tough but small. It is so small that we used to get robbed by people we knew. I’d get held up on the street and be like, ‘Rodney? Oh, I am so gonna tell your mom!'”

Lancaster also expressed his feelings of anxiety going into the competition. “I’m almost always far too nervous to look at anyone in the audience, but the competition was a lot of fun,” he said. Lancaster is no stranger to comedy. He was recently accepted into the Mixed Signals, a comedy improv troupe at the College.

The winners have almost a month to prepare for the finals.

“In Atlantic City I’m just going to use what has worked best for me in the past and see what happens,” Lancaster said.

Catch a Rising Star is a chain of comedy clubs in Princeton, Reno, Nev., and Providence, R.I. The original club, founded in New York City in 1972, has since gone out of business. According to its Web site, Catch a Rising Star is currently in negotiations to open a new club in New York City.

The Catch a Rising Star comedy clubs have had comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld, Robin Williams and Chris Rock perform on stage.