Maybe we don’t have an actual football team, but a comedy group on campus known as The Binghamton Football Team is a close second. The club’s official name is Binghamton Stand-Up. Their mission, simply put, is to provide on-campus humor for students.
The players perform stand-up comedy with about two to three minutes for each performer. In the past, they’ve performed at Frost Fest and Cyber Café West. Recently, they held a benefit show, titled Ryan Vaughan Cures Cancer!, which raised $300 for Relay For Life. They are the only, and hopefully best, stand-up group on campus.
“Our group adds just straight comedy,” said Caleb Fine, treasurer of the BFT and a sophomore majoring in economics. “Like fellow comedy group the Pappy Parker Players, we just want a laugh. People need to laugh more on campus, and I’m happy that we’re a club that does it.”
The BFT describes themselves as a group similar to an a cappella group, but with fewer girls. The environment of the club is relaxed, allowing members to try out their material without being judged by their peers.
“We are like the Statue of Liberty of strange: ‘Bring us your weird, your obscene, your generally strange,’” said Michael Armory, vice president of BFT and a junior double-majoring in English and philosophy, politics and law. “I think anyone who wants to do stand-up comedy has to be kind of off and I think that is why we all get along really well. We are all a bit crazy.”
Members also help each other through critiques, becoming better performers in the process.
“The most important part of the club is building up your bits,” Fine said. “Jokes for us are usually 10 pieces of dirt and then one mediocre piece of coal that, with help from the club, can turn into a diamond.”
Fine says it takes time to improve, but if you put in the time, you’ll benefit from the results.
“We care about what we are doing, but not so much that we lose sight of the fact that we are telling jokes,” Amory said. “That kind of balance is essential to the club working to the benefit of everyone.”
The group was founded last spring, after Fine and Stephen Kassinger met in a last comic standing competition sponsored by the Black Student Union. From there, the two decided to develop a club centered around stand-up, with Kassinger as the president and founder, and additions of Amory and Ryan Vaughan as their faculty adviser.
Currently the club has about 20 members who attend meetings, 10 of whom perform regularly.
“This year, with more members, you get more laughs and more advice from members,” Fine said. “We’ve been trying more and more to get our names out there on campus because we all want to just let our voices be heard so we can make people laugh.”
The club has a democratic process for choosing performers. Members vote on whose material is the strongest, and those people are then allowed to perform.
“My favorite part of the club is watching the progress of someone who timidly hides in the back of our GIM to someone who owns the mic,” said Kassinger, a sophomore majoring in biology. “All of our members have made great strides in their journeys to truly be considered a working comic.”
Don’t worry, if you’ve missed them at any of these events and want to join, The Binghamton Football Team holds meetings on at 6 p.m. on Mondays and at 5 p.m. on Fridays in Old University Union room 202. They’re always looking for new people, so if you like comedy and want to give stand-up a try, this may be your perfect opportunity.
If comedy isn’t your strong suit, but you still like watching others, you can catch them at Spring Fling. They’re also working on semester shows, so keep an eye out for those as well.
“The best part of the club is when you hear a joke connect with a crowd after weeks of working on it,” Fine said. “You just get a satisfaction of doing a job really well-done after putting a lot of thought behind it. Hearing the laughter just makes the job worth doing.”