TU comics take the stage in national competition

Temple sent eight stand-up comedians to the ‘Regional Rivals’ round of the national comedy ompetition.

Aaron Miller, president of the TU Comedy Club, has advanced to the third round with three Temple students (Anna Zhilkova/TTN).

The sign that read “standing room only” changed to “sold-out show” – and fast.

On March 24, Temple sent eight of its stand-up comedians to the second round of the RooftopComedy’s National College Comedy Competition.

A mixed demographic of audience members crowded the Helium Comedy Club, roaring with laughter from start to finish.

Some audience members could only find enough room to stand in the back of the club. Others were denied entry due to space limits.

RooftopComedy arranged to visit Temple for the first round of the competition.

Temple entered the competition after contest winner Aaron Miller contacted RooftopComedy and requested to participate in its competition with an already-participating school. But instead of competing with another university, Miller founded TU Comedy Club, Temple’s new club for student comedians.

“I really wanted to perform with a team, so I started up TU Comedy,” Miller said. “Three months later, [RooftopComedy] contacted me. They actually said they would love to come to Temple.”

In February, eight Temple contestants were selected to compete after winning the competition’s first round, which was held in the Underground.

The second round was termed the “Regional Rivals” round, in which Temple comedians competed against a team of students from the University of Pennsylvania.

Intercollegiate tension sparked more than one ivy-blasting joke from Temple’s performers and show host David James. This roused reaction from the Temple-majority audience.

Though the title “college comedian” may suggest inexperience, contestants said they remained confident.

“I wasn’t nervous,” Miller said. “I always feel a little antsy before I go on the stage, like really energetic. I really want to get out there. I really love performing.”

Winner Rudy Mezzy first performed stand-up comedy five years ago in high school.

Mezzy said he made his worst mistake while performing at an open mic night, when he forgot what he was saying. So he invented a new punch line on the spot: “Don’t you hate it when you forget your joke?”

“I try to limit myself on mistakes,” he said.

Mezzy said performers upped their works at the second round of the RooftopComedy festival, where their talent was “taken to a more professional level,” and everyone used all five minutes they were given to perform.

At the end of the show, audience members voted for their favorite comedians. The top four Temple contestants, junior BTMM major Matthew D’Avella, sophomore communications major Mezzy, junior advertising major Aaron Miller, and junior film and media arts major Nathan Jaiyeola, will proceed to the third round of RooftopComedy’s National College Comedy Competition.

Sophomore journalism major Brittany Miller met Aaron Miller on the subway, where he told her about TU Comedy.

“I really did enjoy myself,” Brittany Miller said. “I’d actually heard a lot of great things about Temple comics. I’m happy that I went to support it. I was cracking up, like my heart was hurting the entire time.”

Next is the “rival elimination round,” which will occur between April 9 and April 16.

Fans can vote for each comedy team at rooftopcomedy.com or send votes to Rooftop2009.com via mobile phone.

“You can just keep voting,” Aaron Miller said. “So I’ll send out a Web link to all my friends. Hopefully, I’ll [move] on out of the merit of my own comedy, not just because I passed it on to my mom.”

Caitlyn Conefry can be reached at caitlyn.conefry@temple.edu.

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