By Brittney Coulter
Waco isn’t known for having a lively comedy scene, but one Baylor student hopes to change that.
Des Moines, Iowa, senior Sam Hogan is drawing on his experience to form a new stand-up comedy group to perform at local venues.
“For the last year, I’ve been doing a lot of comedy in Des Moines and around Iowa,” Hogan said. “I got here and kind of miss it. It’s one of the most fun activities I’ve been a part of.”
Hogan said he was inspired by Thomas Garland, a student at the University of Iowa who started a successful stand-up comedy group.
“[Garland] set up a very good open mic in a college town,” Hogan said. “It was a very nice atmosphere for comedians. That’s kind of the model that I’m using now.”
Garland’s comedy group hosts open mic events twice a week that have become an entertainment staple in his hometown of Iowa City.
“I think it’s fun because it gets people to come see something that they normally wouldn’t,” Garland said. “Here in Iowa we don’t get very many entertainment acts, so to get people to come out and do stand-up comedy is definitely a fun experience.”
Once enough members join, Hogan’s first order of business will be to get weekly open mic events set up for group members to perfect their routines. These events will allow the comedians to test new jokes on an audience as well as work on their stage presence.
“Part of comedy is your ability to perform regardless of your material,” Hogan said. “You need open mics and experience in front of crowds to be able to do that.”
The open mic events will also serve as a way for comedians to be chosen for showcases, which are larger scale events in which participants perform a 10- to 15-minute routine of their best jokes.
Hogan’s said his main challenge in starting the group is finding comedians who are willing to perform.
He encourages people who are interested to try, regardless of their level of experience.
“I don’t want people to think that there’s any experience necessary for how you get into the group,” Hogan said. “If you want to do comedy or you want to try to do open mics, even if you think you’ll bomb, the open mics are a place where nobody will judge you based on that.”
Hogan said he enjoys all aspects of stand-up, particularly making people laugh.
“I really enjoy getting laughs from people,” Hogan said. “It’s entertaining, it’s fun [and] if you’re doing well, it’s a great experience.”
Sorney senior Tania Perez was one of the first to show interest in joining the group. She participated in an open mic event in Dallas last summer and said she hopes to continue to develop her routine.
“Right now I just kind of want to perfect stand-up,” Perez said. “If I do well enough, I hope I can start a career.”
The most important piece of advice Garland said he gives to up-and-coming comedians is practice makes perfect.
“Show up and write all the time,” Garland said. “The more time you spend refining your material and your delivery, the better comic you’ll be.”
Those interested in joining the stand-up group should e-mail Hogan at firstname.lastname@example.org.