Tuesday night GW students took to the stage in the Marvin Center to be named the District’s Funniest College Student.
Graduate student Yvonne Orji and senior Chris Singel, who were named GW’s winners, are invited to a final competition among all the participating D.C. schools at the D.C. Improv April 11. Student winners from George Mason, Georgetown, University of Maryland-College Park, American and Catholic will also be competing. The winning student will receive a paid gig at the D.C. Improv and an interview on WJFK’s Morning Show with “The Junkies.”
GW has participated every year since the event’s inception four years ago, and this year, eight students competed for the two finalist spots. While the typical dirty jokes with added twists were prevalent among the competitors, University bashing was also common.
Sophomore Will Mason opened, “Some things just suck. Like paying $50,000 for college. What kind of people do that? (President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg) is like a beardless, Jewish Santa Claus, who instead of giving presents, takes your money and financial security.”
Senior Greg Kershaw talked about graduating with no definite plans and a degree in history.
“(A history major) leaves with a choice between being a textbook editor and the assistant manager at IHOP,” joked Kershaw. Other contestants included Kevin Mead, Darren Miller, Travis Helwig and Tom Nucci.
Allyson Jaffe – founder, event manager, owner and principal of the Comedy School at the D.C. Improv – started the competition while in college in D.C. She wanted to create a “March Madness for stand-ups.”
“This is an opportunity for school pride, having fun and enjoying comedy,” said Jaffe, who invites local comedians to act as judges and hosts. “A lot of first timers come to my shows and have the chance to step up and perform in front of people.”
“Students discuss a wide range of material: college stuff, current events, political and religious issues … there really is no theme,” she said, adding that contestants are judged for stage presence, audience reaction and originality.
“They are all impressive to begin with. Out of the thousands at this school only about 10 stepped up to compete,” she said.
Jared Stern, a stand-up comedian at the D.C. Improv, acted as one of judges, along with GW’s Program Board chair Maria Bea Querido, a senior. Stern said that as a judge he looks for presence on stage, comfort, originality and a connection with the audience.
“I look to see if they are funnier than me. Then, I don’t let them progress. I have to stop the rising competition for myself,” Stern said.
The District’s Funniest College Competition at GW was part of the Air George: Winter Hoopla celebration hosted by Program Board. PB Party co-chairs Katie Kemen and Joe Walker, both seniors, have continued the tradition of “GW’s version of Homecoming” as a week in February amid important basketball games.
“(Jaffe) contacted us about a date for this year’s competition and we found a good date that fell within Winter Hoopla. It worked out well,” Kemen said.
Other events throughout the week include the Doc Bengali Hypnotist Show on Thursday at 8 p.m. in the Continental Ballroom, and a Tailgate and T-shirt Swap on Saturday from 4 to 6 p.m. in Kogan Plaza before the men’s basketball game against Xavier at 8 p.m. The tailgate features face painting by the Colonial Army spirit group, food prepared by the Hippo Grillmasters student organization, games and music. Exchange a T-shirt from any other school with a 2007 GW Colonials Winter Hoopla shirt at the tailgate. All T-shirts will be donated to charity.