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Students Perform Stand-Up Comedy

April 7, 2014 - by Lauren Reihl

ALLIANCE, OH —The students of Dr. Kevin Meyer’s Psychology of Humor class transformed a Mount Union lecture room into a full-blown comedy club last week.

After spending the semester learning about the psychology behind humor, the students were faced with an assignment to perform a five-minute stand-up comedy act. Meyer expected to receive emails from students who were “playing sick” and wouldn’t be able to make it to class to present in front of their peers. While many students were nervous, not one student made an excuse or complaint, and all of the students got laughs from the audience during the performances.

Julie Amabeli, a senior accounting major of Alliance, OH, was among these students.

“It was terrifying,” said Amabeli. “But after a few lines and a good solid laugh from everyone, I sort of forgot I was nervous.  It was fun, but I'd much rather watch someone else than do it again myself.”

During the Psychology of Humor class, students learned about that fine line that comedians can step across when it comes to being politically correct. The humor was not crude, but it was real and relatable to college students. The audience, which consisted of students, faculty and community members, was perpetually laughing at the students’ jokes.

This assignment was not the main focus of the course.

“This is not a class that taught stand-up comedy; this was only 10% of their final grade,” said Meyer.

Students spent the semester learning how each field of psychology directly relates to humor. Meyer then asked the students to prepare a stand-up bit.

“For them to have the courage to do this, with a week to prepare and no experience doing stand-up, is amazing,” said Meyer. “I don’t think that when I was in college I would have been able to stand up there and do that. This experience will help them one day when they are on an interview or giving an important presentation – they will be able to think back and say ‘I did a stand-up comedy act, this is nothing.’”

Many students agree, including Taylor Webb, senior biology major of Geneva, OH.

“This was a very interesting and eye opening experience,” said Webb. “It is one thing to appreciate humor but it is a lot harder to generate humor for a crowd of people. I learned how much time and effort goes into preparing for a stand-up comedy routine. I really enjoyed this experience and going up to perform was not nearly as bad as I expected. It was such an awesome and unique project to be a part of and experience!”

Other students valued the experience, but would not willingly do this again.

“While I think we all were kind of dreading our own performances, it was a really great experience that I never would have had without this class,” says Brooke Bookless, a senior criminal justice major of Coshocton, OH. “It went much better than I expected and it was nice knowing that people were laughing at my jokes. I doubt that I will do it again, but I definitely feel a sense of accomplishment from the experience.”

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