Students show their comedic strength

Leah Sewell

It is not rare to see our classmates stand and speak. Less common, however, is witnessing a fellow student ascend to a stage, stand beneath a spotlight and pick up a microphone, all for the purpose of making us laugh. This was just the situation last Thursday night at Bullfrog’s Live as seven Washburn students took to the stage and strutted their comedic stuff in front of students, friends, family and judges who would decide the winner.

The student comedy competition, sponsored by the Campus Activities Board (CAB), provided Washburn’s funniest people with a platform that has been graced by some of the nation’s best comedians.

“We put in a lot of thought about the venue, and we knew that Bullfrog’s is the comedy club in Topeka, so we justified doing the comedy show with Washburn students,” said Jacob Prewett, varieties committee member at CAB and the main coordinator of the event.

The night commenced with the comedy stylings of John Westerhaus, who spoke out against refraining from sex before marriage.

“What if you find out he wants to spoon you with actual spoons?” said Westerhaus.

Each student comedian was allotted 20 minutes in which to impress the audience and the judges. Westerhaus’ set went seamlessly, but those who followed had to deal with a sometimes defective microphone.

Second to the stage was Steve Fosnight, who dealt with the faulty mic by simply raising his voice. Fosnight was a fast-talker who insisted there ought to be an application process for women to wear thongs, and who made jokes about how his wife’s backside is colder than a butterball turkey. Like Westerhaus, Fosnight referenced notes containing his routine.

“Sorry,” said Fosnight. “I didn’t have much time to prepare. It is finals week.”

The next act was senior mass media major Andy Ryan, who discussed pornography, sex, wanting to get sex, pornography and sex.

“The good thing about kids is how you make them,” said Ryan.

In the midst of Ryan’s set, a fight broke out at the entrance to Bullfrog’s Live. All eyes turned away from the comedian.

“It was the worst fight I’ve ever seen,” said Bullfrog’s bartender Marvin Robinson.

Ryan dealt with both the fight and the faulty microphone by continuing to tell X-rated stories that elicited laughter from his peers.

“Public speaking is not a new thing for me,” said Ryan. “But getting up in front of people and telling jokes is. I just got up there and talked.”

Next up was Eric Padilla, a last-minute add to the lineup. Padilla discussed the myriad uses for q-tips, his experiences of being financially challenged and his personal triumph at a swim meet over a paraplegic competitor.

“I think I had a good presence,” said Padilla. “But as far as material goes, I think there were guys who were better than I was.”

Forrest Saucier, a sophomore political science, history and pre-law student, followed Padilla. Saucier tickled the audience to no end with his jokes about growing up with three generations of women, theoretically selling portions of his genitalia and dealing with lesbian feminist activists in his childhood.

“He was really smooth with his words and the way he told stories,” said Jacob Greathouse, sophomore radiology student.

Mikey Pokorny and Clint Culver were the two remaining acts. Pokorny seemed very comfortable in the spotlight as he told his jokes.

“I think the Power Rangers are racist,” said Pokorny. “Do they have to make the black power ranger the black power ranger?”

Clint Culver stumbled around on stage and told stories that would have been funnier had he actually finished them. Culver went on with his set far longer than time allowed, and M.C. Jacob Prewett finally had to coax him off stage.

“I think he was a little drunk,” said Prewett. “We had time limits. I think he would’ve gone on forever.”

The finale included all the comedians on stage telling quick jokes. The winner was then announced. Forrest Saucier was dubbed the funniest Washburn student.

Judge Ronnie Murphy explained that the audience had a hand in influencing the judging panel in their choice.

“Crowd reaction was a big part of it,” said Murphy. “That’s really what it’s all about.”

Bullfrog’s D.J. Rob Baldwin has seen many acts, and thinks that Saucier is no amateur.

“I think he should headline here. He’s as funny as some of the headliners we get. He was so charismatic,” said Baldwin.

When asked how it feels to be number one, Saucier was modest.

“It feels alright. I just wanted to have fun, and winning is just the icing,” said Saucier. “I’m new to the experience, but I want to continue with it now.”

Saucier and other comedic students might get the chance to appear again on the Bullfrog’s stage. With the success of the event, CAB is already predicting that the Washburn student comedy competition will be produced again in the future.

“I think it can continue. It’s a better program versus going out and paying a comedian to come [to WU] and you don’t know if people will show up and watch it,” said Brian Flax, director of CAB.

Saucier was happy for the opportunity to showcase his comedic skills, but he isn’t going to keep his material on the stage exclusively.

“I always use humor in what I do. It’s a habit more than a career,” said Saucier. “I don’t think there’s any place inappropriate to use humor.”