“All the girls are thinking: that’s him?” said Aaron Karo, the 26-year-old standup comedian, as he engaged the audience at Statler Auditorium Friday to perform his outrageous comedy act at Cornell.
“Yes, I know, I’m just a short, white, Jewish comedian, but that’s me,” Karo said, commenting on his absurd fame among college students.
Karo’s act marked the last event for Greek Week and was sponsored by the three governing Greek councils in conjunction with the class of 2006, class of 2008 and CU Tonight.
Karo, a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, began emailing his freshman year tales of drunken debauchery, fraternity life, and the art of hooking up with chicks to his home friends in a column he later called “Ruminations on College Life.”
Karo’s friends, finding his musings entertaining and relatable to their own lives, forwarded the emails to other friends at universities around the country. By his graduation from the Wharton School in 2001, Karo’s emails amassed a following of over 11,000 subscribers worldwide.
“People from schools like Indiana, UCLA, even random places in Kentucky would email me and be like ‘you’re writing what I’m thinking, man.’ So I’ve kept on writing about my experiences and sharing it with the world,” Karo said in an interview before the show.
Karo reflected on his new college lifestyle of shotgunning beers, doing his own laundry, getting girls into bed, and going to class. Well, going to class only some of the time.
In the interview, Karo explained why his Ruminations have been so successful.
“Inadvertently, I kind of touch on this universal nerve that people in our age group can relate to. It turned out I was writing about everyone, not just myself,” Karo said.
After quitting his job on Wall Street to pursue comedy full-time, Karo met a fellow University of Pennsylvania graduate who helped turn his emails into a book.
“I had this cult following,” Karo said. “Kids all over would email me telling them of similar stories that happened to them over the years.”
Karo recently published his second book, Ruminations on Twentysomething Life, chronicling life in Manhattan as a recovering frat boy.
“A lot of people say ‘Oh you went to Wharton and you wasted your education,’ but I definitely didn’t waste it. I’m using my education now more than I have ever did,” Karo said. “I am marketing myself as a brand. I’ve been also working on sitcom; I have to use lots of finance and marketing skills that I learned in school.”
Karo has since moved to Los Angeles to pursue his comedy career full time.
“I’m not going to lie that I don’t miss New York. I think it was a time for me to experiment with my writing and drink all the time.” Karo said. “Now, in L.A. the bars close at 1:30 a.m. just like college, and there’s no magic hour at 2:30 a.m. when people start crowding the bars on their second wind. I miss that about New York.”
In his comedy act, Karo touched upon the unspoken rules of dating, drinking and having sex.
Thunderous laughter filled the auditorium as Karo’s act got progressively more graphic and crude.
“I start out pretty benignly talking about my family, going out to the bars, and then picking up girls, and hooking up with girls, etc. Then it gets more vulgar. You catch my drift?” Karo said.
Undoubtedly his biggest laugh of the night was followed by the rumination:
“Getting a girl in her 20s is like a preseason football game. They may look like they’re trying to score, but really they’re not. They just don’t want to get hurt. Get it?”
After the show, Karo was spotted bar-hopping along College Avenue, drinking with his fellow Ivy-Leaguers.
This was not Karo’s first time visiting Cornell, although it is the first time he fully remembers his stay.
“My best friend Brian went to Cornell, who I write about in my Ruminations, and I’ve been to two Slope Days,” Karo said. “When I was at slope day there used to be golf carts with the EMT people picking up drunk kids off the grass. Is this still happening?” Karo asked in the interview before the show.
“That is obviously a very skewed view. But I still had a great time,” Karo said. “All I have to say is that I remember very little about Cornell.”
Karo explained his inspiration for his Ruminations and comedy act come from his daily life experiences.
“I’m literally writing jokes 24 hours a day. There’s no real message in my standup act. I write about my life; it’s just about booze and chicks.”
“I think a couple of issues ago in my Ruminations I wrote something about English muffins. Everything is fair game,” Karo said.
He offered some advice to college students searching for their place in the world.
“I actually think I’ve finally figured it out,” Karo said. “I think in the long run you will make more money doing what you love.”
Karo said he hopes to continue his career in comedy, ruminating about life as a normal guy from Long Island through his beer goggle lenses.
Archived article by Allison Markowitz
Sun Staff Writer