Monday, Oct. 15 proved enjoyable for comedy lovers and coffee drinkers alike, when Dr. Steven Moore’s honors comedy colloquium performed standup at Monks Coffee Shop.
Dr. Moore, associate professor of the department of language and literature, and Al Haley, English professor, have been wanting to offer this course for some time.
“This culture’s in need of comedy,” Moore said. “We’re just going through so much, as a nation and so we just thought, ‘why not a class on comedy?’”
Ryan Jones, ACU alumnus and comedian, was flown in from Portland, Oregon to prep the students for the event. During class time, he served as a judge and provided feedback for the students as they practiced their standup routines.
“I like ‘feedback’ a lot more than ‘judge,’” Jones joked. He has been eager to bring some real experience to the class of beginning comedians.
With the recent rise of comedy from platforms like Netflix and Hulu, Moore and Jones said they have looked forward to guiding students to create standup of their own.
“I think it’s always important to encounter art outside of your field,” Moore said.
Though this was the comedy colloquium’s debut, he hopes in future years to open the class up to all students.
The event took place at Monks Coffee Shop, as Dr. Moore wanted students to perform in a “neutral space” where their standup could be received not only by fellow students, but also the Abilene community. The event was well received; Monks was at full capacity, with a large number of spectators standing in the back.
Andreelynn Stephens, manager at Monks, was equally excited for this event. Stephens has been wanting the coffee shop to do a monthly comedy event for a while. She said she’s eager to do “anything to support the craft… so that it’s not just a flippant concept.”
Stephens plans to make a monthly tradition of standup at Monks. She said that although it is a new concept, she wants to keep moving in that direction.
Having stocked up on muffins and coffee, Monks was ready for a big crowd to enjoy the night of laughter.
Though this was a standup debut for many members of the class, all of the performers were warmly received with laughter and applause. A wide variety of topics were discussed, ranging from race and prejudice to bovine palpation.
“This colloquium has been perhaps, the best class I’ve taken at ACU,” said Jonathan Ladd, junior English and political science major from Baytown. “The analysis of comedy was sharp and the restorative power I found in comedy through this course was remarkable. The actual act of performing stand-up, while seeming daunting at first, is both exhilarating and rewarding once you actually step on stage. I highly recommend this colloquium to anyone who is interested in comedy and for anybody looking to conquer any fear of the public forum, because once you step on the stage and start making people laugh all of those worries melt away.”
At the end of the night, Moore and Haley deemed the audience’s positive response to merit passing grades for all six of the members of the class who performed. Moore said after a successful night, students can look forward to more comedy within campus in the future.