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A laughing matter: students form comedy club

May 3, 2017
student with microphone performing standupCofounder and copresident Karan Arul '17 warms up the crowd during the UR Stand-up Comedy club's first open mic event in Wilson Commons. (University photo / Joy Bian '17)

Karan Arul ’17 and Ali Hashim ’18 are standing up for comedy. The University students are the cofounders and copresidents of UR Standup Comedy, officially certified by the Students’ Association last fall and already counting 40 members.

The club has been holding Saturday workshops in Wilson Commons, where members analyze each other’s routines or watch standup videos. They also hold weekly open mic nights at Brue, a coffee shop on Genesee Street, and at Rocky’s Lounge in Wilson Commons. And, they’ve started to produce a YouTube comedy sketch show called Game of Zones, a Game of Thrones parody.

The students’ standup routines deal with a myriad of subjects, depending on the venue. At Meliora Weekend, where club members performed last October, the targets were campus parking, construction, and dining hall food. Off campus, the targets are often political figures.

students laughing

Kelvin Adulley ’17 and Shamroz Farooq ’17 enjoy the show at Rocky’s Lounge. (University photo / Joy Bian /17)

Arul and Hashim didn’t know each other in the summer of 2015, when they learned that each had separately proposed a comedy club to the Students’ Association.

“They said, ‘Why would you want two clubs? Combine your efforts and make one,’ Arul says.

A biochemistry and English double major from New Hartford, New York, Arul counts Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, and Trevor Noah as among his comedic idols.

“They’re comedians, but they’re also newscasters who can communicate,” he says. “That’s what I want to do.”

group of students holding up one student and laughing

Members of UR Stand-up Comedy include (left to right) Arun Nambiar ’17, Matthew Golub ’17, Shamroz Farooq ’17, Karan Arul ’17, Hannah Gallagher ’19, and Rahul Upadhya ’17. (University photo / Joy Bian ’17)

Coming from a family of doctors, Arul envisions a career as a practicing physician as well. But he’s inspired by medical journalists like Sanjay Gupta and Atul Gawande, surgeons who are also media personalities.

Hashim, an optical engineering major from Bethesda, Maryland, hopes to go to medical school and then into the optics industry, perhaps starting his own company. But he’ll always keep an eye out for ways to make people laugh.

“I hope to continue doing standup in my free time,” he says.

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