Comedy festival looks to cultivate college talent

In planning for a national college comedy festival this Saturday, GW’s sketch group receSs did what they do best: improvise.

Slate: The World College Comedy Festival is a day filled with comedic talent from both college and professional comedy groups. Professional groups will hold workshops, allowing anyone to learn 101, while the festival will culminate with a performance that night.

The day’s global name “is sort of a tongue-in-cheek name because in February we attend the National College Comedy Festival, so we want to one up them,” Eleanor Klibanoff, senior receSs member, said.

Saturday’s festival will be the 7th Slate event in GW history. The first, which included Amy Poehler and the premiere of an episode of South Park, was held during the 1998-1999 school year, a few years after receSs was founded.

Leaders of the small student organization comprised only of six students said it was difficult to organize a large event without the University’s backing. The group could not book a larger venue like Jack Morton Auditorium, but ended up snagging the Marvin Center Ballroom.

This year, with the Washington Improv Theater headlining and groups from nearby universities, including American and Georgetown, the audience will see a newer side of D.C. comedy.

Sophomore receSs member Sam Cook is not only excited about meeting other college groups, but for a chance for the D.C. comedians to unite under one roof.

She said the D.C. comedy scene is somewhat lacking, especially compared to cities like New York with “Saturday Night Live,” the Upright Citizens Brigade and the Gotham Comedy Club, and Chicago with The Second City, among other comedy clubs.

“[Comedy culture] is definitely something we want to work on because D.C. has a reputation as a cut throat politics town, but it’s very young, and there are a lot of aspiring comedians here who don’t have a real platform,” Cook said.

Ultimately, senior Eleanor Klibanoff said, Slate is mostly about creating a community of college comedy groups.

“It feels like these comedy groups on these college campuses are isolated pockets everywhere, so we want to bring them together and have that feeling like we’re all sort of the oddballs in the student org communities that all come together,” Klibanoff said.

Along with the GW alumni comedy group Men of Science, University Police officer Ray Williams will warm up the audience with a stand-up routine.

Another new addition to this year’s festival will be an all-puppet Improv group called “The Fuzz Ups,” from Washington Improv’s ensemble. For the improvisations, the puppets create a scene around a random word suggested by the audience.

The festival will be held Saturday in the Marvin Center Grand Ballroom at 8:30 p.m. Doors open at 8 p.m. Tickets can be purchased for $7 or $15 with a receSs tank at the door.

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