Monday, December 9, 2013

Stand-Up and Take a Bow

I met Amanda Pell first semester of my freshman year. We had a few honors classes together, but I had never seen her preform stand-up before. Rodrigue’s, a student-run coffee house on campus, held an open mic night and I went to see her perform. Since she joined the Fordham stand-up troupe, I make a point to see her sets. Amanda’s comedy is always a great break from homework and since we're roommates, this happens a lot!

Year: Junior
Major: American Studies
Hometown: Point Pleasant, New Jersey
Clubs/Internships: FET (Fordham Experimental Theatre), Fordham Stand-up, WFUV production and videography intern, Opinion Columnist for The Ram, The Daily Show with John Stewart intern, Business Development Institute social media coordinator and event intern, WPLJ promotions intern.

Tell me why you decided to join stand-up comedy at Fordham.
Going to the Blackbox and seeing comedy shows was one of my favorite ways to get out and meet people freshman year. I was already into comedy and had done a little stand up. I wanted to keep pursuing my interests in comedy and get more involved in FET [Fordham Experimental Theatre].

How would you describe your experience with Fordham Stand-up?
It’s super cool; getting recognized around campus after shows is really great. Freshmen year, I knew who these other performers were, but they didn’t know me. Now it’s the other way around. I walk around, and people say “Hey, I loved your set!” It’s fantastic.

What is your favorite part about stand-up?
I like writing stand-up because it engages the left brain and the right brain. The comedy part is really creative, but figuring out how to put a set together is like a puzzle. You have to figure out the timing, vocabulary, laugh breaks. It’s always a struggle; it can be very frustrating, but making people laugh is the most rewarding thing.

Do you think Fordham offers opportunities for comedy that you wouldn’t have elsewhere?
Collins Auditorium houses the Blackbox as well as
the philosophy department. (Source:
Absolutely. I didn’t want to come to Fordham initially, but once I got here, I realized that Fordham had a whole bunch of things that not only do I love but I wouldn’t have been able to find anywhere else. My major [American Studies] is very unique and fits my interests well. Fordham and Rose Hill in particular is so unique because we get a grassroots, underdog pulling for the little guy kind of vibe, especially in the Blackbox theater. We’re all at RH doing something different, and I think that it almost makes us work harder at comedy. We are the only stand up troupe that I’ve ever heard of. We really play off each other and help each other figure out what jokes work and what needs to be fixed.

If you could have any job in the world following your graduation from Fordham, what would it be?
Because I intern at the Daily Show now, I would love to work as a writer’s assistant. But I would also be more than willing to work as a correspondent or, if John is going to retire anytime soon, they have my phone number. Any job in late night comedy, though, would be incredible.

Do you have any advice for the high school juniors and seniors who are interested in the performing arts, comedy, or TV?
The fact of the matter iseven at Fordham where most performing arts are at the Lincoln Center campuswe have a huge talent pool at Rose Hill. Being at a program that is specifically for what you want to do is great, but it is not necessary for success. Your best performing experiences will come from outside the classroom. The difference between who won't be successful and who will be is who spends their free hour on Facebook and who spends it writing a set.

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