Mastering the art of amusement

Do you know anyone plagued with a disconcerting inability to craft a joke worthy of even a sympathetic chuckle? Fear not, for help is here.

Colonial Comedy is GW’s newest student organization dedicated to providing a comedic outlet for students and helping the unfunny find a voice.

“We want to help people who are funny actually channel that energy into a manner which is actually presentable,” junior Arya Bahmanyar, the creator of the group, said.

Bahmanyar came up with the idea to create Colonial Comedy this semester when he discovered there were students like himself on campus who had an interest in stand-up comedy.

“I decided I wanted to create a group of students who could come together and practice delivery, timing, improvisational skills, stage presence and joke writing,” Bahmanyar said. “I think everyone should try it at least once. Everyone enjoys comedy and everyone likes to laugh, but not many people have had the opportunity available to them.”

The purpose of Colonial Comedy will not just be to showcase the talents of students, but to also teach stand-up comedy skills to those who aren’t as familiar with them. Stand-up comedy is something that anyone can learn; anyone can be funny and it’s all about connecting to the audience, the junior said.

What makes Colonial Comedy unique from other student orgs like receSs is that it will be more focused on stand-up comedy, involving one person communicating with the audience, versus improv, where members of a group perform together.

“Every college has an improv troupe, but not many colleges actually focus on stand-up comedy itself,” Bahmanyar said. “We have a huge interest for it, why don’t we actually pursue it?”

There’s no need for prior talent or background in performance or comedy to get something meaningful out of the organization.

“We have people who have a large comedic background and people who have no comedic background whatsoever,” Bahmanyar said. “Having a comedic background isn’t the most important thing. More importantly, it’s necessary to have the ability to learn and to want to do it.”

The org is still in its early stages and only has a few members as of now, but Bahmanyar and the others involved have big plans for the future. Bahmanyar hopes to work closely with the University and see how it can use the new comedy organization.

Bahmanyar said he’d love to be asked to open at Colonial Inauguration or parents weekend and establish a relationship between Colonial Comedy and GW so that the org may continue even after he and the other members have graduated.

Until then, the DC Improv’s 8th annual District’s Funniest College Competition is coming in March to the Betts Theatre. This competition is held among many universities in the D.C. area, and this year is the first year GW has gotten involved. It is an opportunity for students to perform a few minutes of original stand-up material for an audience.

“It’s kind of like a March Madness type thing for stand-up comedy,” said Allyson Jaffe, principal of the DC Improv’s comedy school. “There are the preliminary rounds at the schools and then we pick the winners to do a final competition here at the [DC] Improv on April 14.”

The winner of the final round is rewarded with a paid hosting gig at the DC Improv, an interview with Tommy McFly on 94.7 Fresh FM and a one-year supply of Popchips. According to the DC Improv’s website, “The prize for the university is a reputation for housing some of the funniest students in the area.”

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