The Daily Gamecock

Preview: Comedy Competition with Joel Kim Booster

Carolina Productions will present a comedy competition in search of USC’s best student comedian. Taking place on Monday, Feb. 13, the show will pull together several acts to perform in front of a live audience and three judges.

Second-year broadcast journalism major Jessie Ary is the Comedy Coordinator for Carolina Productions and one of the key organizers of the event.

“It’s basically a USC version of 'Last Comic Standing,'” Ary said.

The competition will be comprised of finalists who have already gone through an audition process, though there is no cap on how many are allowed to be in the show. “I didn’t want to limit the event,” Ary said. “We’re going to put through who we think are the top few from USC and see how the audience reacts on Monday.”

The judging panel consists of a faculty member, the student body president and the reigning champ from last year’s competition. But it’s not only the judges who determine the winners — audience reaction is taken into account and included in the scoring system. The direct impact of a live audience is what makes stand-up comedy such a unique experience and, according to Jessie Ary, what makes it special.

“If you don’t see it in person, you won’t understand,” Ary said. “Everyone should try it ... if you like SNL, it’s very similar, and it’s very fun.”

Stand-up comedian Joel Kim Booster will host the event. Having previously performed on Conan, he is sure to keep the audience laughing between sets and will bring an air of professional comedy to the show.

As for the student line-up, the acts range in experience from beginners to well-seasoned upperclassmen. The humor will also vary widely — from dry quips to witty puns — and each comedian will bring something different to the table.

By the end of the night the judges will determine a first-place winner, who will claim the title of funniest student at USC, and a runner-up. Both first- and second-place winners will be awarded meet-and-greets with bigger acts that come to campus. First place earns two meet and greets: one with comedian Nathan Fielder, who is putting on a show in April, and another that they can use for any talent Carolina Productions brings to USC in the future. Second place will get one meet and greet with a comedian of their choice who comes to USC; this would also include Nathan Fielder, should the runner-up choose to redeem it then.

In addition to the punchy fun of stand-up comedy, there are other reasons the show is worth attending. Jessie Ary emphasized that it is important to support student comedians at USC.

“You just never know how far someone is going to make it, and it would just be really cool if one of our own got into the field more professionally,” Ary said.

Slated for 8 p.m. in Russell House Theater, the show will certainly bring a smile to your face at the time of the week we all need it most — Monday evening. The event is free for students.