Forty students and faculty members are set to participate in Ramapalooza, VCU’s first ever stand-up and sketch comedy competition.
Ramapalooza will span over two weekends at the W.E. Singleton Performing Arts Center on 922 Park Ave. Stand-up comedy will begin Friday, Sept. 20 at 7:30 p.m. and continue on Saturday, Sept. 21. The following weekend, on Sept. 27 and 28 at 7:30 p.m., comics will show off their sketch comedy skills. General admission is $25 and $20 for senior citizens and VCU faculty and staff. Students with a valid VCU ID can get in for $10.
Audience members will cast their vote for whomever they think is the funniest Ram in the competition.
Sketch comedy participants Joshua Crawford, a sophomore theatre performance major, and Alecia Moore, a freshman theatre performance major, agreed that it has been a worthwhile experience, both to watch and be a part of. They all said that the auditions were the scariest part.
“It was nerve-wracking. You’re expected to be funny,” Crawford said. “If no one laughs, then that’s two whole minutes of embarrassment. I got a little chuckle.”
Now that they’ve passed the audition, Moore and Crawford agreed that it hasn’t been what they expected, but are glad they joined the cast.
“It’s exciting. This is (my) first time and I’m enlightened,” Moore said. “Having this opportunity to perform on Mainstage as a freshman is amazing.”
Students working on the show have faculty support. VCU graduate and director John Porter has done stand-up comedy for decades. He has toured around the country and worked with the likes of Jay Leno, Patton Oswalt, Ray Romano and David Copperfield. He said he jumped at the opportunity to direct a student-led comedy show, simply because he loves the sound of laughter.
“Students constantly ask me, ‘Can you teach me how to be funny?’ but if you have a sense of humor, I don’t need to teach you,” Porter said. “Rehearsals and classes are there to tap into that part of yourself that’s already there.”
Originally the plan was to use some of Porter’s comedy contacts, but they realized doing so wouldn’t be the most cost-efficient option. After mulling over their options, they decided to do a “homegrown” competition among the VCU population. Everyone involved is confident the show will be a success.
“You should come if you need a good laugh. Some of these kids will be stars. You’ll find someone you like,” Porter said. “Even if we fall apart, nothing will be funny than the chaos that will ensue.”