The Student News Site of Clemson University

The Tiger

The Tiger

The Tiger

Laughing Their Way to Fame: Clemson students show off their best material to perform with Judah Friedlander

Allison Tanzy, an elementary education major tries her hand at stand-up comedy.
Rachel Eagleton, Contributor

Allison Tanzy, an elementary education major tries her hand at stand-up comedy.

I like to think of myself as a pretty funny person. Whether it be from actual comedic chops, or merely trying to cover for my social ineptitude with a self-deprecating quip and some nervous laughter, I usually seem to brighten up a room, intentionally or not. 

Despite that, I would sooner die than get caught on stage doing standup comedy. I can barely function as a normal human being in a smaller group of friends, much less a group of 30+ strangers staring me down. 

So, when I arrived in Hendrix Student Center last Friday night, I truly felt the pain of the panicked students practicing their material for what was to come.

“Alright, looks like we have a no show,” said one of the representatives on the behalf of TigerPaw Productions. “Any volunteers?”

Her eyes, alongside my own, scanned the main floor of Hendrix to see if any of the three nerve-racked students waiting for their time to wow the judges, would step up.

“Can I wait just a little while longer?” one asked, briefly taking a pause before pacing around the room anxiously once again. “I think I need to run through my material one more time.”

“I’m not ready to go yet, but can I run this joke by you real quick?” another asked, flashing one of his index cards at the representative. “I think it might be a little … TOO distasteful.” 

Glancing at it, her eyebrows shoot up as she gives him a strange look. “Okey dokey then,” he says with a nervous laugh, “I’ll keep that one for later.”

And with that, there was one. With everyone’s eyes on him, the last comedian standing (or in this case, sitting on the ground) got up with a sigh and made his way to McKissick Theatre. “Alright, you guys totally owe me,” he quipped, opening up the door to begin his act.

So what exactly has all these jokesters so nervous? 

Only the chance to perform in front of one of the most well-known comedians in America, Judah Friedlander, of course! 

Friedlander, best known for his role in “30 Rock” and his generally unkempt appearance, will be coming down to Clemson University Feb. 26 as a part of a free show for anyone with a CUID. And thanks to a partnership between TigerPaw Productions, U-NITES and CLEMSONLiVE, more than 15 Clemson students got the chance to try out last Friday in Hendrix to be the opening act for the comedian.

“I got the email about Friedlander coming down during class one day and thought ‘Oh cool, the guy from ‘30 Rock’ is coming down to Clemson,’” said Sean Vallent, one of the young hopefuls of the night. “Immediately after reading that one, I got another email saying that they were looking for people to open for him. In those few moments, I decided to go for it. I mean, when else are you going to get a chance like that?”

As expected, signing up was the easiest part.

The real challenge for many of those trying out was coming up with enough good material to perform. 

“I usually keep a notebook on me whenever I encounter or come up with interesting ideas,” said Wes Harvey, am industrial engineering major. 

“However, it didn’t hit me until yesterday how much time it takes to come up with good stuff.”

For another student that preferred not to be named, the process was a little easier for him. 

“Honestly, I’m not really the guy that comes up with jokes weeks in advance,” he told me with a nervous laugh. 

“It’s much more of an improv thing where I think of a situation that could be told in a funny way on the spot. Sure, it could be riskier since you can’t really test it beforehand, but it makes it a whole lot easier to see what stuff everyone likes and change it on a dime.”

For the tryout, the comedic hopefuls had to come up with enough material to fill up a five-minute segment, and provided they won, they would have to come up with an additional ten minutes worth, which certainly didn’t help the nerves of those waiting in line to perform their act.

Despite all the pressure, the majority of the contestants came out of the room fairly optimistic. “I thought it went pretty decent,” said Blake Snyder. “Once you get the first good laughs going, you start to ease up a bit and it becomes so much easier.”

“It went way better than I thought it would,” Harvey added. “I cannot speak in public, but as soon as I started, I did really well.”

The three judges, consisting of representatives from U-NITES, TigerPaw Productions and CLEMSON LiVE, seconded everyone’s enthusiasm. “Everyone has been hilarious so far, and we’ve only gotten through about seven or so right now,” one of the judges said. “I’m very proud and excited of the sheer talent that our fellow students have brought to us today.”

Leave a Comment
Donate to The Tiger

Your donation will support the student journalists of Clemson University . Your contribution will allow us to purchase equipment and cover our annual website hosting costs.

More to Discover
Donate to The Tiger

Comments (0)

All The Tiger Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *