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Laughing your way downtown: frat hosts comedic professor

Ryan Vaughan is coming to a hookah bar near you.

Teressa Pace/Staff Photographer

The Binghamton University professor will perform this Thursday, Feb. 12 at 9 p.m. at Cafe Oasis, located at 142 Washington St. The comedy act is hosted by Tau Alpha Upsilon in an effort to show another side to greek life. Admission is $6 at the door.

Vaughan said he likes to keep his shows broad, and he guarantees that this one will be funny.

“I don’t want to say what type of comedy because some people might not be into prop comedy or a specific category,” he said. “Everyone loves comedy, though. It’s like when you invite someone over for dinner and you say that there will be food, everyone’s all for it, but if you tell them that you’re serving liver they suddenly don’t want to come.”

Tau Alpha Upsilon asked Vaughan to perform in order to publicize the fraternity and to show greek life isn’t just about partying.

“We wanted to get our name out,” said Matthew Ring, the vice president of Tau Alpha Upsilon. “Not everyone is into the whole house party thing. Greek life has a pretty bad reputation and we want to show that it’s not all about having 400 scumbags at a party.”

Tau Alpha Upsilon treasurer Patrick Socias said there were other outlets for brotherhood.

“It’s not all about drinking,” he said.

According to Ring and Socias, Tau Alpha Upsilon is the oldest social fraternity on campus. They went on to say they have over 700 alumni who are more involved in the University than any other fraternity.

Vaughan said he was ecstatic when Ring and Socias, both of whom are his students, asked him to perform.

“We just asked him after class one day,” Ring said. “In total, all of the negotiations took about five minutes.”

Vaughan, who received his doctorate in English literature and creative writing from BU, has performed several comedy routines on campus. He has taught at BU for the last five years.

“Usually it’s not like this,” he said. “I just pick a day and do a show in Lecture Hall 1.”

Vaughn’s classes center around humor in film, literature, TV and more.

“His whole class is like a stand-up act,” Ring said.

Ring and Socias both recommended taking classes with Vaughan.

“It’s more in-depth than you expect,” Ring said. “He puts movies and TV shows in a new light. You actually learn and look at things in new ways.”

One of Vaughan’s claims to fame is that he frequently changes his appearance.

“I just want to keep it interesting and keep people guessing,” Vaughan said. “If you have the ability, why not do it, be somebody else.”

Vaughan takes pictures of every student in his classes and knows everyone’s name by the second day. He’ll even say hi to students he sees around campus, Ring and Socias said.

“I have over 500 students, so that’s a lot of names to learn,” Vaughan said. This semester this includes two lectures of about 240 students and a creative writing class of 30.

At the end of March, Tau Alpha Upsilon plans to dedicate a new scoreboard to the soccer/lacrosse stadium. Ring said he thought the donation was a good way to give back to the community.