The University of New Hampshire’s (UNH) Campus Activities Board (CAB) is hosting the Funniest Person on Campus, a standup comedy showcase of UNH students, on April 25. But before the event, students have to try out in front of a board of CAB members which includes Caroline Truesdell, Live Entertainment chair Donovan Lofaro, director Emma Barresi, and business manager Connor Slade. While these were the people who judge auditions, the people who will be judging at the event are yet to be determined.
CAB rates performances based on stage presence, comedic timing, connection to the audience, offensiveness and funniness. Since funniness depends on whoever is judging, and is a very arbitrary decision, CAB believes it is important to have the other factors that make up a comedian as well.
When looking at offensiveness the judges make sure the comedian doesn’t bring up sensitive topics such as things like race, minorities, sexual harassment or tragedies like the Holocaust. Luckily, no one who auditioned even mentioned these topics. Comedians talked about relatable college student activities such as going to the bars, studying abroad, classes and their significant others.
There will be an audience during the show, but during auditions, the comedian just has to make jokes to the judges and whoever else is sitting in the room, so they only have a small crowd to work with. Lofaro said that it was easier to gauge a person act in front of a crowd because sometimes people feed off the audience well but don’t show that with a small group. This is something CAB takes into consideration when looking at who will be able to perform at the event.
“The hardest part about it for me was that the audition was in a small room and we had to perform our set with no microphone,” Luke Doverspike said about the auditioning process. “I feel extremely naked with no microphone. To me, a mic is like a shield.”
Luckily, Doverspike had his Improv Anonymous friends to help cheer him on. “That was really awesome for me to see some of my friends do a quick stand-up set, as I’ve never seen them perform stand up before,” Doverspike said.
The show itself will be about two hours, starting at 9 p.m. in the Strafford Room. The opener this year will be Justin Rupple, who played Tuffnut in “How To Train Your Dragon 3” and was on the show “First Impressions” with Dana Carvey. Rupple will be starting and ending the show with 15 minute sets, with the comedians who made it through auditions getting 10 to 15 minute acts in between.