The College's aspiring stand-up comics, resorting at times to bathroom humor and Elvis impersonations, entertained an appreciative Sanders Theater crowd of 250 people last night, as part of a marathon Comedy Night that raised $500 for Phillips Brooks House (PBH).
Even though a similar event held last spring netted more than twice as much money for the social service organization, PBH events coordinator Marjorie S. Rosenthal '89 said the night was a success. "Most of our grants this year came from the Undergraduate Council and from Massachusetts alumni. Events like this draw a lot of public attention to us. They get things rolling."
The council voted this fall to give PBH an unprecedented grant of $18,000 for the year.
Jimmy Smith, described by another comedian as "a large Kentucky Fried Chicken of a man", was the evening's sole professional stand-up comic. "He was hilarious," said Maye I. Chen '92. Fellow Freshman Rebecca D. Knowles agreed. "He could make a bad joke and completely resurrect it, getting everyone to laugh".
Harvard's improvisational comedy group "On Thin Ice" also sent a delegation. Members from the group took turns cavorting on stage, then froze into inexplicably comic postures. "I'd never seen that done before," said Chen.
Student comedian Richard L. Poulk '89 had the hardest act to follow, appearing at the end of the three-hour comedy fest. "The crowd was pretty much comedied out by the time I got on."
But the Leverett House senior took his late appearance in stride, and come next June, Poulk said he plans to search for steady engagements.
For those who aspire to cackle in public and get paid for it, Poulk stresses that chance and luck are as critical as talent. "The business is crazy. You can pound the pavement for five years and be nowhere," Poulk said. "Or you might do a couple of gigs in New York and get on the David Letterman show."