By Julia Dzurillay and Kaitlyn Njoroge
Brian Marino, a sophomore mechanical engineering major, was prepping for his first live comedy show. He had just downed four cups of coffee, and was ready to take the Traditions Lounge stage as the opening act of CUB Alt’s Student Comedy Night on Friday, April 6.
Just as Marino was about to take the stage, his friends from the College’s ultimate frisbee team piled into the Traditions Lounge. Every seat by the stage was filled — some even shared — by students to support their favorite, self-proclaimed “Twitter comedian.”
Marino began the night by glancing at his script and then ripping it in half.
“We’re going off the script tonight. I’m off my shit — can I say that?” Marino asked his audience members. Some shrugged in response.
“Hey Traditions, can I say that?” Marino shouted past the audience and into the restaurant.
A single “yeah” escaped from a Traditions patron to everyone’s amusement.
The event, which was emceed by Jack Sofka, a sophomore English major and CUB Alt co-chair, featured members of the TCNJ Stand Up Comedy Society, as well as other performers like Jason Thorpe, a freshman history and secondary education dual major.
Decked out in a Champion hoodie and WTSR hat, Thorpe joked about elderly men hitting on his girlfriend in Staples, overworked college athletes and the absurdity of Columbus Day.
Thorpe proposed a new holiday to replace Columbus Day — Mussolini Day. The holiday would not be a success, Thorpe argued, because kids would never remember the “father of fascism” without a clever rhyme.
“‘In 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue’ sounds a lot better than ‘In 1935 Mussolini invaded Ethiopia,’” Thorpe said.
He ended his set by slinging a case of water bottles provided by College Union Board over his shoulder and lugging it back to his seat — a small act of retaliation after he was denied the chance to ask Stephen A. Smith for a selfie during the Spring Lecture by a member of CUB.
“The guy who snapped a picture with him doesn’t even go here,” Thorpe said. “He doesn’t even go here!”
For inspiration, Thorpe looks to comedic legends like George Carlin for inspiration. He channels their style of humor into his own comedy that favors the absurd.
“If it’s crazy and dark, I can think of a way to make it funny,” Thorpe said. “And the story should be a base to build the joke off of. The joke shouldn’t be the story itself.”
Then Caitlyn Connelly, a sophomore communication studies major ranted about her chain-smoking grandmother, and Sean Delanoy, a junior interdisciplinary business major, shared his encounter with the sleeping “lemon man” on a New York subway.
Levi Reed, a senior communication studies major openly shared with the audience that he knew that his work outfit, a button-down shirt and brown pants, made him look like he was homeschooled. Each story explored the best and worst aspects of college life.
Austin Merritt, a senior interactive multimedia major discussed his problems working at Accepted Students Day and his horrible memories of high school, like when a gym teacher nicknamed him “little buddy.” The teacher even asked another student to invite Merritt to a party.
“And of course I went,” said Merritt. “I had to support, I’m her little buddy!”
As for Marino, the first comedian of the night, he shared his love for Eickhoff Hall, as well as his disdain for Dane Cook.
“This is me,” Marino said. “That was me on four cups of coffee, but that’s pretty much me. I could do this again, I could go up there and I could scream about nonsense, I could make up another running joke … I enjoyed it a lot.”
The student comedians used stories from their daily lives to make the audience laugh. With their authenticity and charm, audience members left feeling a little bit happier than when they came in.