The first Binghamton Comedy Festival, held on campus this past weekend, connected comics from several schools in the Northeast.
The free two-day festival was held in Lecture Hall 10 and consisted of four shows — two on Friday and two on Saturday. Each show featured a different lineup of student comics from Bing Stand-Up and similar organizations at Ithaca College, Colgate University, Yale University, Wesleyan University, Lafayette College and SUNY Purchase.
The event was Bing Stand-Up’s first festival featuring comics from other schools. Peter Clark-Deutsch, vice president of Bing Stand-Up and a senior majoring in mathematics, got the idea after organizing a collaborative show with SUNY Purchase last fall, titled “Safety School Comedy Jam.”
Clark-Deutsch said that he already knew comics from a few other nearby schools, and after doing some research on which colleges had stand-up comedy clubs, he reached out to 12 different organizations with the hope of collaborating. Six responded, and students from each organization performed at the festival.
Patrick Toohey, president of Colgate Stand Up and a sophomore at the university, said the festival’s atmosphere was a welcome change of pace for members of his group, whose performances are usually limited to local pubs.
“Here, we were guaranteed an audience that was here for comedy, at a comedy festival, so that was really cool,” he said.
Vicky Kim, treasurer of Bing Stand-Up and a junior majoring in electrical engineering, opened the first time slot with a joke about the city of Binghamton’s status as one of the nation’s most depressing cities. Other comics touched on subjects like modern dating, working in retail and navigating life after college.
Kim, who hosted the first performance on Friday, said that the inclusion of performers from different areas offered varied viewpoints.
“We’re all college students, so we kind of have similar experiences,” she said. “But it’s nice to have different perspectives.”
Hannah Fishman, an undeclared sophomore, said that all the comics brought life and energy to the stage.
“They were so down-to-earth, and I think the topics that they choose are topics that affect all of us,” she said. ““They showed their weaknesses in a positive way.”
In addition to the lineup of visiting students and current Bing Stand-Up members, two BU alumni also performed. Lyla Cerulli and Christian Macaluso, who both graduated in 2017, came back to Binghamton from their current homes in the New York City area to participate in the event.
Cerulli, who still performs frequently, said that networking with comics from other schools could be beneficial to students even after graduation.
“Most of the time if you’re doing stand-up in college, or you want to do stand-up, you’re ending up in New York City,” she said. “So the more people you know during the college years, the more it helps you with networking.”
Clark-Deutsch said he hoped that the event would serve as a networking opportunity for student comedians and possibly foster lasting connections.
“Comedy’s great if you know how to network,” he said. “I wanted people who all like the same thing to come together, talk to one another, become friends and hopefully collaborate in the future.”