by Catherine Laurent
A long brown-haired girl walks across the floor underneath the spotlight, and grabs the mic just before her eyes scan the room. She greets the crowd with a warm smile, squinting her eyelids almost shut. She introduces herself formally, her voice echoing the room. She places her palms against her chest and begins her piece.
“You never really know if someone loves you,” she says. “Until they eat your ass.”
Mia Sanchez is a senior playwriting and screenwriting student, and a member of the Purchase Comedy Club. She had just performed her first set in Comedy Club: The First Show on Oct. 12. Based on the way she starts her set, it’s safe to say Sanchez’s material does not shy away from personal subjects.
Sanchez lives on the Jersey Shore with her two siblings and parents. Her family is of Puerto Rican descent and this is where she believes she found a knack for telling jokes. “Puerto Ricans love to party and they also love to laugh,” said Sanchez. “My parents have a similar sense of humor."
From an early age, Sanchez can recall festive parties filled with music, dancing, food and laughter. Everyone would gather around the table telling jokes and personal stories. The key is “I don’t have to be as serious when experiencing life,” said Sanchez. A notion that has stuck with her family for many generations.
The Sanchez family emigrated from Puerto Rico to Newark, New Jersey in the 1970s. The stressful weight of assimilating to a foreign land and discrimination wasn’t the only aspect of adversity at the time. The neighborhood they lived in was known for its high crime rates and violence. However, they never viewed this as life being a burden. According to Sanchez, they celebrated life and were brought up to always laugh any hardship off. “All my family members really filled my life with laughter growing up,” said Sanchez.
“Hearing different voices, especially from women, people of color, I think that’s important,” said Oona O’Brien, vice president of Comedy Club and philosophy senior. Their main objective is to reach to a wide range of audience members on campus and encourage more voices, O'Brien says. The first show of the year featured a black headliner, Marcus Givan, and a previous show featured a transgender headliner. “Comedy is so diverse so we should reflect that in our club,” said Eion Falance, president of Comedy Club, and playwriting and screenwriting senior.
As for Sanchez, her role in the Comedy Club has just begun. “She’s really funny, and she killed at the show,” said Falance. Falance and Sanchez work very closely together workshopping her material and coming up with alternative ways to hit the punch line. “They have inspired me to go ahead and actually do it after school too,” said Sanchez. An impactful decision for not only Sanchez, but for those who need the representation.