Jesters perform stand-up at Valentine’s Day Common Hour

BY ELIZABETH MCMAHON ’13
Senior Staff Writer

In honor of Valentine’s Day, Common Hour featured “Taste of Lancaster: Chocolate and The Jesters.” This particular Common Hour was organized and run entirely by students. On Valentine’s Days of years past, Common Hour has typically hosted the Taste of Lancaster, where several chocolate companies in and around Lancaster come to share their chocolates with students.

As is typical with this particular type of Common Hour, the line for chocolate was quite long. The gym was full with students sitting in the majority of the chairs as well as in the bleachers on the sides. Dan Portfield, president of the College, was in attendance, as were several other faculty members and professional staff.

This year the event was combined with an act by The Jesters, F&M’s stand-up comedy club. The Jesters was formed in January 2011 and is a student-run club entirely dedicated to stand-up comedy, including the writing process and performing. The student comedians have performed at a variety of events on campus including “ShamRock the Stage” and “Huckfest.”

There were five members of the group present at Common Hour, and they all performed their own stand-up comedy routines. They covered a wide variety of subjects, including the election (perhaps not the one most are thinking of), the House system, and even themselves. The audience was quite reactive to everything the comedians said.

Eric Mellis ’13, the first to speak, discussed the House system and how everyone always compares it to the houses in Harry Potter (or at least they did until New College House came around). He also talked about books and our relationships with particular characters.

“Looking back on these four years, I have to say, if I could compare myself to any literary hero — from all the books I read, short stories I took with Professor Ford, depressing affairs of the state of the world thanks to Professor Dawson, my mentor — I’d have to say that the protagonist I most embody is the Very Hungry Caterpillar,” Mellis said.

Next up was Patrick Hitschler ’13.

“So the election was recent,” Hitschler said. “ I voted for the left Twix factory. The right side is a little too crunchy for me; I like my caramel cascaded.”

Hitschler continued by talking about popular movies (including a particular jab at the film Twilight and a certain lovable actor), and his next sequence was about Valentine’s Day, specifically the candies and relationships that make it what it is.

There was next a brief pause when two of the members read a speech written by an alumnus. The graduate spoke about the usefulness of comedy and how it has helped him throughout his life. He also discussed how he continues to practice it even now and his regret that he was only able to perform with The Jesters once before graduating.

After this touching speech, Sean Simoneau ’13 took the stage. He began by poking fun at Sycamore, Connecticut, his hometown.

“Connecticut Magazine once called [Sycamore residents] uncultured, which we were very offended at once we looked up what that meant in the dictionary,” Simoneau said. “I mean, we don’t know why they were making fun of us; our river hasn’t caught fire since the ’80s, and it has fish again — sure, they have three eyes and human teeth, but still.”

Simoneau followed this with a discussion of fears, in particular one of helium-filled objects found at birthday parties. Next came a discussion of his grandmother and her interesting use of quotations, as well as becoming old in general. This was followed by religion and, finally, a discussion of breakfast food complete with new breakfast rules.

Jacob Sonenshine ’16 followed. He began with a discussion of comedy and comedians in general. Next he spoke about Israelis and how relaxed they are about everything before bringing up the elections and the particular way in which Obama talks.

Sonenshine handed the microphone over to Zoe Yellen ’13. She talked about all the great ideas that come to her until one of three things happens. One of these particular ideas she did manage to write down.

“At 1:34 a.m. in Aug., 2012, I wrote in the notes on my phone: Archie Comics: the Musical. Like really, Zoe, that is the most profound thing you can think of?” Yellen said. “There are starving children around the world who have never even heard of Archie!”

Yellen used this to jump into her discussion of how she prepares for her stand-up routines and the things she writes in that notebook. When The Jesters finished, it was time for the chocolate.

In past years, “Taste of Lancaster: Chocolate” has included many different chocolate companies in Lancaster having tables at Common Hour for students to go around and decide which chocolate they would like to try. This year things were a little bit different since there was the addition of The Jesters. Instead of the multiple tables, each student was given a selection of different chocolates in a single cup.

This Common Hour is always one that stands out as being unique. Most of the other Common Hour events include lectures and panel discussions, but this one was much more interactive and dynamic than the norm, using comedy and chocolate as excellent treats on Valentine’s Day.

Questions? Email Elizabeth at emcmahon@fandm.edu.

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