City laughs night away at comedy show


With a brick wall, a microphone and a spotlight, 14 comedians from colleges all across New Jersey took the stage of the Stress Factory last night for the New Jersey Comedy Festival.

Comedians performed at the semifinal competition for five minutes each, joking about everything from cow tipping to the "Jersey Shore" to dating and sex. 

School of Arts and Sciences junior Ben Brosh, Mercer County Community College student Bartholomew Battista and Monmouth University student Kyle Seivced were the three finalists chosen to go on to the final competition, which will be held on January 30 at the University.

The winner will receive a $1,000 cash prize, the Good Humor Award, a scholarship from the Manhattan Comedy School and a chance to perform at the Stress Factory, according to the festival's official Web site.

Vegas Lancaster, who won the final competition last year, opened up the show.

The College of New Jersey alumnus said the festival brings out a wide range of talent from college students.

"There's a lot of fresh comedians in New Jersey colleges who are really good, and it's great that the festival's here to pull them out and there's plenty of people who this is their first time performing," he said. "But it's great for them to have the opportunity to come out and try it."

New Jersey Comedy Festival Founder Dennis Hedlund, Festival Co-Producer David Stein and actor Frank Albanese judged the competition.

"The New Jersey Comedy Festival is in its third year, [it's open to] only college students and it's been a really wonderful, rewarding experience for us," Hedlund said.

Monmouth University juniors Sarah Freeman and Jessica Pino came out to support their friend Seivced who was performing.

"Apparently anyone can sign up for this, so I'm expecting some people are not going to do that well but some people are going to do well … I love comedy," Freeman said.

She and Pino said the Stress Factory provided a much more comfortable, relaxed and unbiased setting as compared to a school auditorium, where previous competitions were held.

"Anything beats studying for finals," Freeman said.

Brosh was one of seven University students who competed last night.

"Women complain that men are not romantic enough … it's tough these days to be romantic, especially in New Jersey. Pretty much the most romantic thing you can do here, besides go to Six Flags … is go to New York," he said in his act.

School of Arts and Sciences senior Pavan Katepalli joked about being a super-senior and

TCNJ student Jason Cantor talked about being a senior in college and gaining the "freshman 35."

Competitors also hailed from schools such as Rowan University and Mercer County Community College. 

Adam Mamawala, winner of the festival in 2007, said the event was held at the Stress Factory so students whose schools did not have a large enough venue to host a competition could participate, and so those who did not get through the first round could get another chance.

Mamawala, a TCNJ alumnus, said this was the first time the festival was held at a venue like the comedy club.


Heather Brookhart

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