Steven Orientale

At the Yale-Harvard Comedy Show this Friday, Simon Fraser ’20 will share some of the mistakes he’s made and what those mistakes have taught him.

The show, which will take place at Linsly Chittenden Hall in room 101 from 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m., will help kick off festivities and rally students ahead of Saturday’s Yale-Harvard football game. Simon, who is from London, became involved with comedy his sophomore year at Yale, when he joined a campus stand-up group called The Opening.

That summer, he performed at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival and began to devote himself to the art of stand-up. Last summer, he interned at “The Late Late Late Show with James Corden,” of whom he speaks very highly.

“James is a great guy. They all are,” Fraser said of both Cordon and his staff.

Fraser has performed at college campuses and comedy clubs across the United States and hopes to make comedy a full-time career. For the Yale-Harvard show, Simon will perform an hour-long stand-up routine he performed previously at both the Fringe Festival and Princeton University.

In his first year at Yale, Fraser auditioned for every sketch and improv comedy group on campus, he said. He was disappointed by the result.

“I got rejected from all the sketch groups. All the groups,” Fraser said.

Then, that summer, an invitation from his employer requested he attend a stand-up comedy event. Under the impression that the invitation was simply for him to watch the performance, he agreed. But after she finished her set, she asked Fraser to get on stage and perform himself.

Reluctantly, Fraser improvised his first stand-up set.

“I bombed, and I wanted to get better,” Fraser said. This urge to transcend his debut performance motivated him to pursue comedy in earnest, he added.

Fraser returned to Yale the following fall and auditioned for The Opening — the only group that had yet to reject him.

Fraser said he likes comedic performance because he likes to share stories and make people laugh. This show in particular will address diverse aspects of his life.

“It tells stories about nights out with the Yakuza, to the story of my first time flirting, to the best prank I ever pulled,” Fraser said. These tales range from surreal to the utterly mundane and are accounts of mistakes he has made and since learned to laugh at in front of an audience.

Oscar Lopez Aguirre ’20, co-director of The Opening, has performed in many shows with Fraser and has watched him develop as a comic over the last three years.

“His style is very him, if that makes sense,” Aguirre said. “I think he has a very particular voice. Untraditionally classic is, I think, a good oxymoron. When you watch it, it feels like stand-up, but I don’t know; the energy is very particular. It’s like skewed tradition, but in the best way possible.”

Aguirre said that, although he hates the word “hustle,” he feels inspired by Fraser’s ability to do exactly that. He added that this hustle is necessary in comedy due to the hard work it requires.

Aguirre added that as Fraser amasses content that “works” and becomes more confident, Fraser becomes more “willing to be absurd than he was before.”

Ingrid Ellis ’23 is in the sketch comedy group The Good Show with Aguirre and has seen Fraser perform in several shows of The Opening. She noticed similar strengths in Fraser’s comedic persona, describing him as “energetic and confident.”

“[The show] is sold out. Like 150 people, so I’m feeling confident.” Fraser said. “Everyone will have a good time — and then the next day the Bulldogs bring it home against Harvard!”

Fraser is 5’9”’ and 165 pounds.

 

Annie Radillo | annie.radillo@yale.edu