Usually when school starts, no one is laughing, just counting down the minutes until they have to sit at that monotonous desk. Here at Castleton State College, smiles and laughs were certainly in large quantity at the Fireside CafÃ© hosted Comedy Night on Aug. 27.
Philadelphia natives Reggie Conquest, Tom Cassidy, Monroe Martin and Derek Gaines graced the stage, making it very clear that being in Vermont was something they had never experienced before.
“The tension could be felt in the room. I am thankful that Reggie was able to break it starting right off,” said headliner Derek Gaines.
Reggie Conquest certainly did that, poking fun at the incoming freshman, his Keystone beer gut and making it very clear that there would be no race barrier.
Next was Tom Cassidy, who pushed the boundaries with community college and ex-girlfriends. He carried a certain quick witted spark that kept the audience on the edge of their seats.
With the performance of Conquest and Cassidy, it’s hard to believe that both were fairly new at comedy. Conquest started his comedy career three years ago while Cassidy started his about five years ago.
Next was Monroe Martin who shared his distrust of people with cats and vented about how hard rap was to find on the radio in Vermont. Monroe thinks it’s unfair to compare clean comedy versus raunchy comedy.
“It’s not fair to put a limitation on a man’s art. You don’t tell a painter that he has to paint a picture without using the color red,” Monroe said.
“We aren’t just on stage screaming expletives for laughs,” Cassidy added.
Throughout the show, the comedians zoned in on a specific two people in the audience; Castleton junior Josh Budzinski and senior Tiffanie DeRosa.
“I wasn’t really sure what to expect when I first came, but after the first comedian I thought ‘Oh boy, we are in for a show,'” Budzinski said.
DeRosa added that she wasn’t as uncomfortable as the comedians made it seem, but that it was definitely cool being part of the show.
“They missed a unique experience,” said Budzinski of his fellow students who were not able to attend. “It’s a great time to relax and forget about things for a while.”
When the last comedian, headliner Derek Gaines, walked on stage, people were already impressed, which left Gaines with big shoes to fill.
Gaines seemed to fit the bill, though, because as he continued his act, the chairs at Fireside filled. Whether it was showing off his beat boxing abilities or talking about safe sex, he continued to make the crowd laugh.
The comedians got started in this business on a whim.
“On a dare! I dare you to go up on stage if you think you’re a funny guy,” said Gaines, who had started 10 years ago at open mic nights throughout Greater Philadelphia.
Monroe Martin started the same way.