Purchase's Comedy Club now meets at the Humanities Theater every week. The change has led to a rise in both performers and audience members.
By Sophia Astor
A performer on stage at Comedy Club (photo by John Warren).
Last year, Purchase's Comedy Club meetings were just a handful of guys cracking jokes in a humanities conference room. This year, they got an upgrade.
The club's weekly meetings now have a stage, a spotlight, a host, and a much larger audience. Their meetings are gaining popularity, and the club's sense of community is growing.
"The stage makes it so much more like actual stand-up," said John Warren, the club's PR manager. "Before, you had to lend more to the imagination to make it stand up, whereas now all the parts are there."
Alex Baglio, the club's new president, decided to hold their meetings in the Humanities Theater this semester. Since then, Comedy Club went from having about five consistent members to having around 35-40 people come each week. Some come to perform, but many come just to watch and laugh. Baglio accredits the club's newfound success to the change in location. Emerick Taber, the vice president, says he thinks this is the best the club has ever been.
"We wanted to get out of the office environment that the conference room felt like," explained Taber. "That was nice too, but I feel like we've hit a nice peak here where people actually wanna come."
Members say that the theater's atmosphere takes away a lot of the pressure of performing. It helps comedians feel more confident at shows, and it's easier for audience members to stop by discreetly without disrupting. Overall, it just makes everyone feel more comfortable with each other.
"Other than the stage, the biggest difference this year is the sense of community that has already started forming," said Baglio. "People keep showing up, and hanging out here is part of their routine. We're just coming together to do something fun, and we're all kind to each other."
Sophia Kalish, a junior communications major, occasionally comes to meetings to watch. Even though she doesn't plan to ever get on stage, she says she still enjoys the sense of community in the room.
"Sometimes I feel like at Purchase, you have to try a bit extra to fit into certain spaces," said Kalish, "whereas with Comedy Club, you don't have to be anything. You just have to laugh."
Taber says that the club's leadership has been pushing even harder this year to make sure that everyone feels welcome, even those who haven’t shown up much in the past.
"At the end of last semester, a big thing on our minds was that it wasn't a diverse club anymore," he said, "it was just kinda five white guys telling jokes, and it got a little old. We wanted to change that, and we felt like giving it a fresh start was important to do so."
Baglio says the main improvement this year is that more women have started performing.
"It was pretty male-dominated," agreed Marissa Mulgrew, who has been attending Comedy Club for a year. "Occasionally, other women would come but would usually just watch instead of perform. I did feel like an outlier from the group. While I was happy to be a woman performing in the room, I wished that there were more because we're so funny."
She's happy with the increase in women performing but would still love to see more of them move from the audience to the stage.
As for his hopes for the future, Baglio says he wants to keep the same momentum and put on a great next show on Nov. 2.
"I just kinda hope the club continues on like this. I don't wanna do too much. I think it's a very simple idea to tell jokes and make people laugh."
**Comedy Club's next show is this Thursday, 11/2. To perform at a show, you have to have performed at least one practice. You can find more information about meetings and shows on Instagram @purchcomedyclub.