Student performers in the “Last Comic Standing” tested their wit in front of a crowd of about 400 students Thursday night.
12 stand-up student comedians performed in front of a packed Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona Hall. At the conclusion of the nearly three-hour event, which was sponsored by the Yale College Council, Yael Zinkow ’12 and Natey Weinstein ’14 drew enough laughter to win the contest, earning them spots as openers at this year’s Fall Show.
“We love this event because it gives many students a chance to try out stand up — a type of comedy that isn’t as prevalent as improv. or sketch here at Yale — and also have the opportunity to perform at Fall Show, one of the biggest venues a student comedian could hope for,” said Katie Donley ’13, events coordinator for the YCC.
Each performer began the competition with a four-minute set with jokes that often focused on student life at Yale and were often self-deprecating. Though the themes of many of the acts were similar, comedians said they each brought their own distinctive style.
Weinstein, who called his style “minimalist” and referenced Demetri Martin as one of his influences, switched topics abruptly in his act, often catching the audience off guard, and aroused many laughs.
While this marks the first time Weinstein will perform at the Fall Show, the other winner is no stranger to the big stage. Zinkow, who was one of three female competitors and who also won the competition last year, included many personal anecdotes about her family and joked that when entertaining guests, she very quickly turns into her old-fashioned grandmother.
Indeed. Other obviously touchy subjects were those about race and the objectification of women.
Other comedians, whose stand-up comedy experience ranged from just telling jokes to their family to performing often at large venues, referenced elements of Yale culture, such as residential college screws, the Toad’s foam parties and freshman counselors. Though the contestants kept their jokes relatively mild, some performances drifted into themes of drugs, alcohol, race and other topics that irked audience members.
“Pedophilia is not funny!” Alex Birks ’12, who attended the event, said in an interview after the show.
Following the 12 acts, the three judges, members of comedy groups on campus, chose five finalists to perform a second time. By the end of the second round, much of the crowd had dwindled, but supporters of each contestant grew louder in their shouts of approval.
The judges ultimately chose the winners by both evaluating the acts and taking into account preferences of audience members, who could send texts to an email account designated for their favorite comedians.
Five students interviewed who attended the show all said they thought the contestants were funny and engaging. Gordon Moseley ’12 said he enjoyed watching the comedians and cheering for his friends who were performing.
“I think the show was much better this year,” he said. “The place was packed.”
While Alec Arana ’14 said he also enjoyed the show, he called the process of texting to vote for contestants “weird,” adding that “many people to seemed to be confused.”
The Fall Show, which will feature YouTube sensation Bo Burnham, will take place Oct. 22 in Woolsey Hall.