If you’ve ever
wondered whether horses are perhaps secretly human, you may find a
kindred spirit in Erik Charles Nielsen, a comedian who has performed
on Conan and also has a recurring role on the show Community.
The comedian was one of five comics who performed at “Popular with Erik Charles Nielsen” at Doms Lounge on Feb. 15. Hosted by the 5C
Late Night Stand-Up Comedy Club, an organization that promotes comedy within
the 5Cs, the show brought together comedians at different stages of fame
Eli Olsberg, James Austin Johnson, Ellie McElvain SC ’14, and Eliza Pennell PO ’14, with host Charles Blyzniuk CM ’14, each performed short sets, none lasting more than a few minutes, before headliner Nielsen performed his set. Johnson did many impressions, including Jay Z as heard from upstairs and a Texan from the 1950s who resents change: “A gay pharmacist? Not in my town!”
Olsberg and Pennell spoke mainly on the subject of romance. Pennell described potent images of her in the fetal position in her shower, and Olsberg discussed the merits of Tinder and Grindr. McElvain also discussed romance (don’t call her “buddy” if you’ve had sex) and did a spot-on reenactment of sympathetic rib-eating.
Johnson is a recent college graduate from Tennessee, while McElvain and Pennell are both students at the 5Cs. McElvain, one of the leaders of the Comedy Club, helped bring the other comics
to the event.
Blyzniuk, the other leader of the club and the host of the Feb. 15 show, said that the club chooses comics to perform at the show on the “basis of who makes us laugh, and who is
As the club does not have a budget for bringing comedians
to campus, attainability is based in part on which comedians are “generous
enough to do it for free,” Blyzniuk said.
“It sort of is just based on the friends I
have in the [Los Angeles] comedy community,” McElvain said. “I was living and working in
the city last summer, so I got to attend a lot more mics and shows than during the school year, so I was luckily able to meet a million of
the coolest and most talented comedians in LA.”
Olsberg, one of the featured comics, is known for his work on Chelsea Lately and The Soup. He said that part of the appeal of the Feb. 15 gig was the audience.
were there to have a good time,” he said. “LA is a little different. It’s such
a business town that you’re working on seven-minute showcase sets to impress
people because you don’t know who is watching.”
In a setting like Pomona, the audience “can be a little looser
and have a little fun,” Olsberg said.
This rang true at the Feb. 15 show, which had a much more relaxed feel. Nielsen and the other comedians frequently interacted with the audience. The sprinkling of older members in the room due to Family Weekend even received commentary and apologies after some of the raunchier jokes.
“It’s very much a
mutually beneficial relationship between comedian and audience,” said McElvain, who counted more 100 people in the audience. “If there’s a
good energy coming from the audience and there’s more laughter, comedians will
suck that up and have great sets, and doing so they give that energy back to
Reactions to the show were generally positive.
“All in all, I laughed a lot,” Senja Strage SC ’17 said, picking out a joke in which Nielsen mocked the mascots of the school teams.
Nielsen said he appreciated that students from the schools performed and that they did “really well.”
Both Nielsen and Olsberg were impressed that student comedians have begun performing so early in their lives. Olsberg was a
graduate student and Nielsen was a senior in college when they began performing
Blyzniuk, who also performed between sets, initially
wanted to be a comedy writer. However, he performed at one of the club’s weekly
Friday open mics at the behest of a friend, and found that
he liked it.
“There’s an immediate rush that you get from this and from getting
a laugh,” he said.
Organizers of the event felt that overall, it was a success.
“Pretty much everyone nailed their sets,” McElvain said. “It just felt like
every single person in the room, audience member or comedian, was having a good
time, and that’s exactly what we’re trying to do.”
The next 5C Late
Night Stand-Up Comedy Club event is March 8 at 8 p.m. in Doms