The lights went down in Armstrong’s Wilks Theater, and only the stage was lit with a lone microphone in the center. Members of the audience murmured as they waited for the show to begin.
“It’s so nerve-wracking.”
“I know anything up there won’t make me laugh as hard as anything he says in person.”
Not Very Funny’s fall show was about to begin.
Mackenzie Maguire, the club’s president, and Ben Wolkoff, treasurer, walked on stage to applause and cheers from the audience. The crowd may have been small, but they were anything but quiet.
Not Very Funny is a stand-up comedy club that was founded two years ago. Tuesday night, they held their first show of the school year. Eleven comedians performed, two of them first-timers.
The organization holds meetings to work on group set work, and edit and critique individuals’ set material.
Maguire and Wolkoff introduced each performer and often headed out into the audience between sets to ask questions or make jokes, earning giggles and shouts from the crowd.
As each performer stepped up to the microphone to their own walk-up music, the audience clapped and screamed their names.
The jokes covered everything from dogs to drinking, serial killers to basic white girls, bike riding to food allergies. They walked, shouted, ran, jumped, danced across the stage and laughed along with the audience.
Watching the performers from backstage, vice president Alex Saccocio loves hearing the audience’s reactions to different performers jokes.
“That’s what we’re here for: the laugh,” Saccocio said.
The members have become close — they love the backstage camaraderie and seeing the other members perform successful sets.
The members draw inspiration from many places. A lot of Saccocio’s material is self-deprecating.
“Quirky things about myself to crack a joke about,” he said.
When he thinks of material for a set, Saccocio makes notes in his phone, then builds a set with a theme. He comes up with a rough set four to five weeks before a show and makes a lot of edits and changes. A week before the show, he solidifies his final set and commits it to memory.
Wolkoff, the second to last performer, wrapped his set up with a parody from childhood.
“That’s it for me guys. I’m Ben and you’re watching Disney Channel.” He drew a shape with his microphone, then clarified: “I drew a penis.”