The New Jersey Comedy Festival, a stand-up competition for college students, has been in existence for four years. The College has given it half its winners—alumni funnymen Adam Mamawala won in 2007 and Kevin “Vegas” Lancaster won in 2008.
The festival’s founder, Dennis Hedlund, said he had high hopes that he may find his festival’s fifth winner in the pool of students selected at the College’s preliminary round, held Tuesday, Oct. 12, in the Rathskeller.
And the next winner very well might come from the College, in the form of Brad Emdur, senior technology education major, Nick Maloney, 2010 alumnus and education graduate student, Kiley Remer, junior history major or Matthew Rusay, freshman mathematics major. The four students took top honors at Tuesday’s event and will continue on to the New Jersey Comedy Festival, to be held Saturday, Jan. 29, 2011 at Rutgers University.
Emdur warmed up the crowd as the first contestant. His low-key delivery and dry humor received a warm response.
He spoke slowly and deliberately, at one point making an amusing transition to his next joke.
“I was having trouble thinking of a segue into my next topic of conversation, but then I realized Segways are for assholes,” Emdur said. “Speaking of assholes…”
Maloney discussed problems with technology during his five-minute set.
“One time, actually, my whole life, I had phone problems,” Maloney said. “One time, my phone was stuck on capital letters, so of course everyone thought I was fucking insane.”
Peals of laughter greeted Maloney’s recap of his digital woes.
“Have you ever tried dirty texting in capital letters?” Maloney asked.
Remer and Rusay took the stage back-to-back. Remer, a recent transfer student, relayed his thoughts on the College’s demographics.
“Even when it’s raining, I feel like I have to put sunglasses on to see through all these happy, bright, shiny white people,” Remer said.
Rusay capitalized upon his lanky figure and an awkward scar for laughs.
“If it ever gets to the point where America needs me to fight, fucking move to Canada,” Rusay said. “The only scar I have is one in the shape of a penis on my ankle that I got from ice skating, ’cause I’m so cool.”
Ten other contestants took the stage to take their shot at becoming “New Jersey King or Queen of Campus Comedy” and taking home the festival’s grand prize of $5,000.
Two judges from the New Jersey Motion Picture and Television Commission — Steven Gorelick, executive director and David Smith, commissioner — joined Hedlund to determine the three winners.
Hedlund delivered the announcement, and a surprise.
“Because (the College) has a warm place in our hearts, instead of three finalists, we came up with four,” Hedlund said.
With smiles, Emdur, Maloney, Remer and Rusay became finalists.
“It was a bit shocking,” Remer said.
College Union Board Rat committee co-chair Jillian Polak was pleased with the outcome of the event.
“There were a lot of people there and a lot of new competitors,” said Polak, senior journalism major. “I think it went really well.”