The Daily Gamecock

Professional comedian hosts student Comedy Competition

Carolina Productions' annual Comedy Competition will be hosted by professional comedian Emma Willmann in Russell House Theater on Wednesday night. Willmann will introduce each comedian and intersperse her own jokes, but most of the focus will be placed on the acts of the contestants.

Six student contestants will take the stage to amuse the crowd starting at 8 p.m. The contestants include Phillip Carter, Corey Johnson, Adrian Perez, Conor James, Malik Thompson and Caleb Franklin, all of whom went through an application and audition process in order to participate in the competition. Expect each of their routines to range from five to eight minutes — all of which will be critiqued and analyzed by the judges, who will ultimately determine first, second and third place winners.

You might recognize Willmann from "Deadly Affairs," Oxygen, the Lifetime Network or Channel 7 News. Willmann completed her graduate classes at Harvard University in 2009 and is currently studying acting at The Barrow Group in New York City, a well-known theater school that has been around since 1986. Willmann has been named one of the "10 Funniest Women" in New York City by TimeOutNY and one of the "100 Women We Love" by GO Magazine.

With an anticipated crowd of 150, it is normal for a performer to feel nervous before such an event. However, third-year marketing student Phillip Carter is no stranger to large crowds.

"For some reason during auditions, [I’m] always more nervous than I am at the actual competition,” Carter said, who has performed in front of 300 people before — he opened for Iliza Schlesinger at USC in September.

Although he may not be too nervous to take the stage, Carter does feel conflicted about the content of his act in today's politically correct world.

"I love comedy clubs so much because you can say offensive jokes and get laughter," Carter said. "However, college kids find almost anything offensive so I'm still debating on if I should tell my dead baby jokes at the competition. But also my parents will be there, so I know I'll get some laughs."

Some contestants have prior experience with comedy — Carter has been consistently involved in the comedic world with open mic nights and shows. With the talented contestants and Emma Willmann's mounting credentials and expertise, the show's stakes will undoubtedly be high.

The Daily Gamecock reached out to all of the competition's contestants.