On April 3, Pun Intended Stand-Up Comedy club held a comedy show over Zoom at 8:00 p.m. Titled the Pi Iota Spring Formal, a play on the club’s name, this show was the club’s second Zoom show, following the first on Dec. 5.
Pun Intended has been at Cornell for one and a half years, providing an outlet for those with an interest in stand-up. With no auditions and no attendance requirement, the club welcomes performers and spectators alike. During meetings, the members of the club watch and discuss videos of stand-up performances. Afterwards, the members themselves perform while receiving feedback from their peers. This collaborative environment has fostered creativity and helped club members learn from each other.
“I think a lot of people have a want, and a need if you’re passionate enough, to express their point of view comedically,” Pun Intended’s president Skyler Holzman ’22 says, “and I think this club gives people the perfect platform for that.”
After years of thinking that writing stand-up was an inherently individual process, Holzman remarks that finding a collaborative environment through this club has changed his perspective. “It’s given me an appreciation for the craft, because you need to hear other people’s experiences and you need to live life to be able to have things to write about. You’ll always get inspired by other people.”
After a turnout of around 200 participants at the previous show, the club’s performers have grown more confident in performing. Zoom comedy does have its challenges — for example, the lag between telling a joke and hearing audience feedback can lead performers to start questioning their material. Still, with growing confidence in their comedy and more experience performing on Zoom, Pun Intended’s members have become better equipped to navigate these challenges.
With over 100 Zoom participants joining in on April 3, the first sign audience members saw was a drinking game inspired by the night’s performers. Holzman himself started off the night, referencing the boat stuck in the Suez Canal, proceeding towards joking about his high school basketball experience and later, golf podcasts, earning many laughs from the audience.
Following was Cassie Gologorsky ’20, whose comedy was centered around her curly hair. She recalls how during her childhood, her hair was the object of her mother’s obsession, whereas more recently, her hair attracted a considerable amount of attention from strangers. I thought her multitude of hair puns were both clever and well-placed.
Sasha Frolov ’21 began by mentioning finding garbage outside and his visit to the urologist. He then recounted meeting his friend’s former RA, who had relieved himself inside of bottles and the lessons learned from this encounter. Audiences were very responsive to his inclusion of a bottle of yellow liquid as a prop.
Next up was Flavia Scott ’24, who poked fun at her own privilege, including the laundry service she uses instead of washing her own clothes. She also reflected on the struggles of trying to date during the pandemic, and how she has attempted to navigate them by telling stories of her recently deceased snail. I enjoyed the anecdotes present throughout her performance.
Power and strong opinions were the focus of Joanna LaTorre’s ’21 performance. From demanding a boy’s love as a fabulous first grader to cyberbullying and fostering a friendship on Build-a-Bearville, LaTorre expresses how her childhood experiences exhibit her attempts at being “nice”.
Matthew Hein ’23 recounted his terrible week during his routine, talking about wisdom teeth removal, his beloved French bulldog being put down, and spilling Italian food inside his new car. Though his week was certainly not ideal, I appreciated how Hein was still able to find humor to share with others despite this.
Next was Sam Steinberg ’21, who joked about how her attraction to older men started at a young age, persisting until the present. Recalling how she dated Navy seals in the past, she explained how she applies “improvise, adapt and overcome” to her more recent relationships. Steinberg’s use of props also garnered both shocked gasps and gleeful laughter.
Jayson Figuero ’21 found humor through his bisexuality and his relationships, both past and current. His dating experiences fueled a variety of jokes, and his gestures certainly aided his performance. Figuero also included an abundance of puns, including some using his own name, true to the club’s name.
Ending the night was Sadie Ravnitzky ’22, who told a story about the craft store, Michael’s, losing her Cornell acceptance letter while drawing parallels to her ex-boyfriend Michael. Ravnitzky’s performance was full of variety, with jokes about extreme couponing, perfectionism and more; still, I thought she tied her material together well.
Given the amount of laughter from the audience throughout the event, it’s clear that everyone had a great time. I really enjoyed how each performance showed each performer’s unique style of comedy while being consistently humorous throughout the night. The performers’ dedication to and love of their craft certainly showed in their comedy. Holzman expresses his gratitude to everyone who has been part of the process, appreciating the contributions that have brought the club to where it is today.
Pun Intended is hoping to have another show before the end of the semester. Given the success of their recent show, the club’s future performances are sure to keep audiences laughing.
Aditi Hukerikar is a sophomore in the College of Arts and Sciences. She can be reached at email@example.com.