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Laugh with (at?) Seven Emersonians Competing for Comedy Glory

ComEx! graphic

You never know what an Emerson College comedian is going to do at the annual ComEx! show!

This year’s comedy extravaganza, presented by the Center for the Comedic Arts, will be on April 12 and 13 in the Semel Theater.

On Saturday night, seven of Emerson College’s brightest comedic talents will compete in the annual Jess Ilias Clavelli Award Competition. Finalists have five minutes to dazzle judges and the audience with their best routine. The top three performers will be awarded cash prices, with the prestigious Jess Award going to the top performer. Doors open at 8:40 pm and free tickets can be reserved at emersontheatres.org.

The seven competitors answered, to the extent comedians do answer, questions from Emerson Today:

Jamie Elder ’25

Jamie Elder
Jamie Elder ’25

Who is your favorite comedian?
I have been loving a lot of comedians recently. My biggest inspirations are Quinta Brunson and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

How would you describe your comedy style?
My comedy style is like if Nikki Glaser and Bo Burnham had a sad baby that no one asked for… that’s me. I love performing a hybrid style of classic standup comedy with musical comedy.

What do you think when someone learns that you’re a comedian and they ask you to say something funny? 
When someone asks me to say something funny, I usually panic and maybe cry? Or I tell them to go to my website and find me being funny over there. Or I take a shot of the nearest Tito’s [Vodka] and see if that helps (I’m 21, don’t fret).

Please say something funny.
You want me to tell you a joke right now? Where the hell is my vodka? Trust me you’ll love my website

Check out a video of me performing, without the piano, but if you DO want to see me with the piano, you gotta come to the Clavelli on April 13 at 9:00 pm.

Liberty Henry ’24

Liberty Henry
Liberty Henry ’24

Who is your favorite comedian:
My favorite comedian is Hannah Gadsby. 

How would you describe your comedy style?
How would I describe my comedy style? I would describe my comedy similarly to how others have described me: surprisingly normal, despite circumstances, but still rather eclectic.

What do you think when someone learns that you’re a comedian and they ask you to say something funny? 
What do I do when someone finds out I’m a comedian and asks me to tell a joke? Well, first I want to die. For the most part, I avoid bringing up that I do comedy for this exact reason, but when it does come up, I usually just explain the concept of one of my sets. It takes the pressure off me to be as funny as possible and typically helps me address any other questions the person has. 

Please say something funny.
I can’t believe that I watched a clip of Family Guy two years ago and it led directly to me being a finalist for this competition. 

Stand-up In The Park 4th Annual Women’s History Month Comedy Special includes performances by several Clavelli competitors (among others) Riley Dewey ’24, Lily Monday ’25, Jamie Elder ’25, and Devin Hill ’25.

Devin Hill ’25

Devin Hill holding flowers
Devin Hill ’25

Who is your favorite comedian? 
My favorite comedian right now is Patti Harrison.

How would you describe your comedy style?
I would describe my comedic style as strange and a little off-putting (in a good way) I mostly do characters.

What do you think when someone learns that you’re a comedian and they ask you to say something funny? 
When someone asks me to say something funny, I normally tell them that I’m not gonna do it for free, because I pay money to take comedy classes and perfect my craft to make THEM laugh. That was a reference to something Picasso did. I usually just talk in a British accent and say something weird.

Please say something funny.
“Say something funny”…I can’t just turn it on and off like that, I’m not a jester here for your entertainment, I AM A PERSON.

Lily Monday ’25

Lily Monday
Lily Monday ’25

Who is your favorite comedian?
Kate Berlant 

How would you describe your comedy style?
My comedy style is all over the place, not really sure what that even means. I’m very physical and funny. I like to perform improv, stand up, and clown.

What do you think when someone learns that you’re a comedian and they ask you to say something funny? 
When someone asks me to say something funny panic rises in my throat and I become dismissive and mean. 

Please say something funny.
One time I cried through a whole production of The Producers when I learned about death.

Jack Reisman ’25

Jack Reisman
Jack Reisman ’25

Who is your favorite comedian?
My favorite comedian by far is Alex Edelman. I have been following him from a young age and really admire his work, such as his newly acclaimed show, Just For Us, that recently ended its national tour. 

How would you describe your comedy style?
I would say my comedy style has a storytelling-like quality to it — a lot of my work is about stories that have happened in my life. I also apply a lot of self-deprecation to my humor because what is more enjoyable than feeling bad about yourself? 

What do you think when someone learns that you’re a comedian and they ask you to say something funny?
I usually think to myself, “Oh brother, I hope they don’t ask me to say something funny.”

Please say something funny.
When they do, I usually ask “Well, do you have $5 on you?”

Jack Reisman ’25 performs at the 2023 ComEx Stand-up Showcase.

Connor Spring ’24

Connor Spring
Connor Spring ’24

Who is your favorite comedian?
That is a loaded question with no real answer, favorites are made up. People I look up to include Jennifer Coolidge, Kristen Wiig, Amy Poehler, Maya Rudolph, and Nicole Beyer. 

How you describe your comedy style?
In the moment, expressive, authentically ridiculous, and a bit over the top.

What do you think when someone learns that you’re a comedian and they ask you to be funny?
What a dumb thing to ask! 

Please say something funny.
No. (I still don’t understand why side boob is a bad thing)

Riley Dewey ’24

Riley Dewey performs on stage holding a microphone
Riley Dewey ’24

Who is your favorite comedian?
My favorite comedian right now is Jon Stewart.

How would you describe your comedy style?
I’d say my comedy is relatable and observational.

What do you think when someone learns that you’re a comedian and they ask you to say something funny? 
When someone learns I’m a comedian asks me to tell a joke, I immediately refuse.

Please say something funny.
Every comedian hates that question. I’m going to be funny when I want to be. 

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