Funniest person competition spills laughter

Bret Belden

Wild laughter spilled out of the Strafford Room as Comedy Central’s comedian Louis Ramey hosted Campus Activities Board’s annual Funniest Person on Campus competition on Saturday between 9 and 11 p.m.. The panel featured five student comedians.

Ramey, a seasoned professional who has been featured on several television comedy shows such as NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and “Last Call with Carson Daly,” introduced the first student comedian of the night,  sophomore communication major Kyle Sharpe.

Sharpe began by knocking over the stool on stage, and then transitioning smoothly into a talk about death and how he himself wants to be put to rest—in Chilis’  restaurants. He then took a moment to acknowledge his competitors. “You want your friends to succeed, right? Not tonight,” he said.

Next up was senior psychology major Ryan Pagliaro, who spoke about his experiences in the alternative break challenge this spring break, when he was the only male in a cabin with nine females, and a story about his job in a hospital.

After a short entr’acte from Ramey, in which he described doing comedy shows in Pennsylvania for the Amish, senior theater design major Rebecca Bishop took the stage, surprising the audience by dancing to the song she entered with.

“Dancing is in my blood,” she said, although she also conceded that she never took dance classes.

Her first story was one about the time her mother put a dead bird in a white paper pastry bag on her kitchen counter.

“What you need to know is that my town has a general store that sells these delicious chocolate croissants and they come in little white paper pastry bags…I think you can see why this might be a problem.”

That day, Bishop said, pacing and with subtle motions that set the tone and added visuals to the performance, her sister came home from school, excited about a croissant, and her mom quickly stopped her because there was actually a dead bird in the bag. When frantically asked why there was a dead bird on the counter, Bishop relayed that her mother asked, simply, “Where else would I put it?”

After a momentary interlude from Ramey, out came first-year bioengineering major Ian Root. Root told the story of his high school marching band visiting Madrid his sophomore year, and sneaking around doing things one really shouldn’t while on a school trip, especially with his mother as a chaperone. “At the time I had this thing with a senior…She must have rebounded, lowered her standards…whatever, I didn’t care,” he said.

Last up was junior history major Kaelen Caggiula. He began his performance by reciting several short original poems, including two called “Look Out for That Car” and “Thursday.” He then walked the audience through a time when a stranger yelled profanities at him, and he had to formulate a proper response.

The four judges, including assistant director of Memorial union Building, Dave Zamansky, were whisked into a side room to deliberate. After a few minutes, they emerged with results.

Third place went to Pagliaro, Caggiula with his poetry got second, and first went to Bishop, who declared during her performance that, because she was the only woman performing that night, “I am the funniest woman at UNH.” What she didn’t know at the time, though, was that she was the funniest person at UNH. She ran on stage to retrieve her prize of two tickets to see comedian Jerry Seinfeld this summer. 

“God, I hope so,” Bishop said upon being asked if she wanted to incorporate comedy into her future. “Doing this terrifies me, but it’s important to push yourself to do things that scare you.”