By M.A. Rahman
Published: April 10th, 2019
The newly created Brooklyn College Heckler’s Club presented its first stand-up show in which students across campus were invited to get a shot behind the open mic before a crowd of roughly a dozen of their fellow peers.
“We’re still a small sized club, but I really enjoyed it. I definitely enjoyed watching everyone else’s acts,” said Nessa Bratslavsky, a senior, psychology major and President of the Heckler’s Club, satisfied by the days event, remaining hopeful more students will gradually be excited to join the relatively new club.
For students like Bratslavsky who grew up watching stand-up comics like Nicole Byer or Norm Macdonald and having the opportunity to share their sometimes awkward/unpleasant encounters in unexpectedly humorous way felt more meaningful than just a way to cope with said experiences.
“So I was out with this guy and he kinda kept giving me a weird vibe until I left his car even though he got me this suspicious jar of lemonade to drink later which really was all I was looking forward to doing,” Bratslavsky said on stage before quickly arousing mischievous laughter across the room.
Naturally, much of the material was improvised across acts revolving around poor Tinder dates, personal pet peeves, rants, and the occasional and surprisingly well received rap.
Stepping onto stage with an unusual swagger, a student not affiliated with the Heckler’s Club began one of the more stand out acts of the evening.
For his novel act, Kenyatta LeSeur, a Graduate, Industrial/Organizational Psychology Contraction major, elected to question the audience on their interests and attributes then rap about them with few brakes of silence gaining great applause by the end of his skit.
Maintaining that his act had little to no rehearsal, cited ‘confidence’ as a major factor for his acts success, elaborating on the one mindset required to achieve this end, LeSeur said “It’s just the way you carry yourself, know how you work [on stage], know that you are great.”
A near absence of crude, shocking, or toilet-style humor was conspicuous amongst the varying acts, for organizers of the event, this was by precisely by design.
For some cynical observers this resulting acts might be indicative of a stagnation of creative thought, however, an examination based on the thoughts espoused by some typically more prominent contemporary comics like Jerry Seinfeld and Bill Burr will suggest the culprit to be an overemphasis in minding of the ‘sensitivities’ of viewers.
“We’re relatively PC here, if you wouldn’t say it [your joke] in class then don’t say it on stage,” Bratslavsky admitted, insisting the Heckler’s Club has no interest in otherwise altering the current rules, adding “We want our club to be as inclusive as possible.”
“Just go up, try it out and see if you like,” Tanya Tan said, a senior, Information Systems major and Vice-President of the Heckler’s Club, as advice to any student that might feel anxious about stepping on stage, adding “I wasn’t big into stand-up comedy and I tried it myself.”
For now the club’s scope remains narrowly focused on arranging as many stand up events as possible. “If students want us to do more things like workshops then will do that,” Bratslavsky said, open to new ideas.