Eight MIT students — Vanessa C. Bowens ’12, William D. Drevo ’13, Paul G. Hlebowitsh ’11, Michael T. Lin ’11, Ronan K. McGovern G, Matthew R. Rodriguez ’11, Jacob S. Sharpe ’11, and Xindi Song ’10 — will be competing in the Regional Rivals event against Tufts University in the 4th Annual National College Comedy Competition this Thursday at Mottley’s Comedy Club. The eight students were chosen by a preliminary competition held at MIT last month. This is the second year MIT has participated in the competition, which is sponsored by TBS and Rooftop Comedy. Thanks to the team’s performance last year, MIT was invited to compete this year, along with 31 other schools from across the nation.
“[This competition] is a big deal for us because it gets us a lot of attention. It’s a national competition, and it’s TBS,” Drevo said.
The eight representing MIT have varying levels of experience in comedy, some having done stand-up for several years and some just starting out. Six of the eight competing, all but Hlebowitsh and Song, are involved in the MIT Stand-Up Comedy Club (SUCC).
At the Regional Rivals event, teams go head-to-head with a rival team from the area; in MIT’s case, Tufts. The top four comics on each team are determined by a combination of audience voting and judging by professional comics. “It’s good to have people there,” Drevo said. “It would be really great if people could come to watch since voting is done via audience decision.”
If the team makes it through this round, the top four individuals will head into the select 16 elimination round where the public will be able to view their set from Regional Rivals and vote online. The top eight will be selected by online vote as well. During the next round — the Conference Rival Match — each team creates a five minute video to roast their opponents. After public votes narrow the number of competing teams to four, professional judges will pick the winner and four MVPs. The four MVPs will win a trip to Chicago and get to perform at the “TBS Presents: Just For Laughs” festival.
How does the MIT team they think they’re going to do? “I think we have the potential to go all the way. Also, Jacob Sharpe is very serious about comedy. He has a hilarious set. There’s an MVP award, and I think he has a good shot for that as well as the team award. I think we’ll go pretty far,” Drevo said.