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February 28, 2013 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 2013-02-28

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The Michigan Daily - michiganda
From Page 1B
A community of comics
Yet despite the almost didactic
atmosphere the comedy club cre-
ates for its open mic nights, there
don't seem to be a lot of University
students present on Wednesdays.
"I have no idea," Feeny said.
"Last year we had quite a few com-
ing in. This year there's not that
many. Next year maybe there will
be some."
LSA senior Jake Fromm, one
of the few University students to
make regular Wednesday appear-
ances, pointed out that the meet-
ings for student organization LOL
ROFL Comedy Club also happen
to fall on Wednesday, so student
comedians have to choose which
venue is best for them. Fromm
(who is a former Daily photogra-
pher) is active in both, but noted
the value of the Comedy Show-
"There's something really valu-
able about a real room with a mic
and a light and a crowd that's paid


Thursday, February 28, 2013 - 3B

to see you," he said. "I prefer to go
up and do the real thing instead of
Fromm only started doing
standup last May, but it's a passion
that he plans to pursue far into
the future. He hopes to get a job
teaching English in Asia when he
graduates and would like to pur-
sue comedy in New York at some
"I don't know what the comedy
scene is like in Nepal, but there's
probably not going to be any open
mics there," he said.
Fromm's name was near the
bottom of the standby list the first
week that I went to see him, but he
was hopeful and prepared none-
theless. Before the show, he sat at a
table by himself, writing in a small
notebook and working out jokes in
his head.
"It's just bullet points and con-
cepts. Sometimes I'll have the
rhythm in my head and so I'll
write down exactly howthe joke is
going to go," he said. "But (usually
I'm) just writing down points that
I want to hit. Onstage you figure
out what works and what doesn't
work and even if you haven't writ-

ten down the exact words, you
probably could."
The show was running too long
that week, so Fromm never gothis
chance to perform. But he stuck
around anyway, laughing and
talking in the back with the rest of
the comedians. "There's a comrad-
ery," he told me. "A community of
comics ... the guys that go up alot
- theyall know each other."
Convenience and accessibility
Like many of the comics in this
small community, Fromm is just
trying to climb the ladder. Success-
ful open mics lead to emceeing,
emceeing leads to featuring, fea-
turing could get the attention of a
booking agent and a booking agent
just might lead to headlining - a
shot atstardom.
Comedians at every phase of
the process grace Feeny's stage
throughout the year, with the end
of the week devoted to the more-
established performers: the head-
In the last few years, the Show-
case has seen comedians with
national appeal, like Aziz Ansari,
Mas Jabroni and Doug Benson.
Joe Rogan, in Detroit announcing a
Saturday Ultimate Fighting Cham-
pionship fight, asked Feeny if he
could drop by the Friday before to
do a show.
Shows featuring this caliber of
comedian are rare on the calendar,
but when they do show up, it's usu-
ally in a situation like Joe Rogan's.
It gives them a chance to work out
some rougher material and to have
some fun in alow-key setting.
"We see them on the wayup and
we see them on the way down,"
Feeny said. "We're not going to see
them on the top because we don't
seat enough people, to be frank."
Most of the week's headliners
have a regional or budding popu-
larity, and come to spread their
name, develop an identity onstage
or just work a room with a solid
Comedian David Dyer, who will
be performing Feb. 28 to March 2,
comes to the Showcase for many of
these reasons and shares an enthu-
siasm for the club with similar
"That's an excellent room to

Comedians like Aziz Ansari have performed at the Ann Arbor Comedy Showcase, which is located beeasth Sevas.

work of
try new
That's o
the cou
ton ofcc
just lov
great in
are exce
In th
put his 1
"Late N
and AB
done c
and re
has fou
Tube ar
to grow
have toi
"I ha
to move
he said.
In th

ut material - to just really video stuff is to showcase acting
things and grow a little bit. and writing," Dyer said. "But if
rne of my favorite rooms in you want to do standup ... you can
ntry," Dyer said. "I know a do stuff that's funny on YouTube,
omics who will tell you they but man, you still have to step up in
e working that room. It's a front of 200 people and do it. And
timate setting; the crowds that's the only way you're going to
ellent - they're smart." get better, is to get onstage."
he last 20 years, Dyer has Fromm had his chance to get
humor to work in just about better the following week that
medium: He's written for I went to see him, when he was
night with Jimmy Fallon" among the top-12 comicsoset to per-
C's "Politically Incorrect," form for Wednesday's open mic.
haracter voices on radio I showed up to the club early
corded a comedy special that night, hoping to pick Fromm's
d" But with a wife and two brain for anxieties and expecta-
rs in Grand Rapids, Dyer tions. Though he would later deny
Lnd himself utilizing You- it, you could see the nervousness
nd other Internet resources on his face. As I sat down, he gave
his name so he doesn't me a quick smile, a quiet hello and
travel too far from home. returned to his notebook.
ve a family and I'm not in a But onstage, Fromm was cool
to nor do I have any plans and relaxed, which was one of the
e, so you know what? I'm reasons that his setstood out from
do abunch of stuff myself," many others.Alot ofhisjokeswere
new or going throughtheir second
is way, the value of the trial run, but you wouldn't have
se for Dyer becomes one guessed it from watching him.
of convenience and acces- He had a strong stage presence,
At the same time, it rep- smooth delivery and an intuition
something greater about for timing. His jokes were largely
one's craft. observational, and accurately so.
It was clear that he had figured
It'sjust comedy out, on a fundamental level, how
to make a room laugh.
reason that I'm doing that Even when he stumbled over

one of his jokes, and when an audi-
ence member chose to engage
him after a spur-of-the-moment
remark about the Pope, Fromm
maintained composure, impro-
vised and came out of both situa-
tions unscathed.
"It wasn't as smooth as I would
have liked," he told me after the
show. "It was an organic ener-
gy, and the interaction with the
crowd was good. I'm tryingto get
better at performing - just being
onstage and beingnaturally funny
not with stuff that I've written."
Fromm was specific and articu-
late about his improvement, his
goals and what kind of performer
he wanted to be in the next open
mic. But even with his improve-
ment, wouldn't Fromm and other
young comedians be better off in
a town like, say, New York? Chi-
cago? L.A.? Is Ann Arbor and its
Comedy Showcase the right place
for a young comic? Fromm wasn't
entirely sure.
"It's the only comedy town I've
really experienced,"he said. "It's a
good town to make comedy but I
don't know if it's a great town for
buildinga career around."
Feeny's answer seemed to sum
it up best.
"That's pretty deep," he said
laughing. "It's just comedy."


Every Wednesday. crowds gather to enioy comedy at the Ann Arbor Showcase.

for Entrepreneurial Studies
University of Michigan's 30th Annual Michigan Business Challenge
sponsored by the Zell Lurie Institute at the Ross School of Business
Awards more than $60,000 to Promising Student Startups
The 30th annual four-month, multi-round Michigan Business Challenge began in the fall with nearly 200 students
from across the University representing 72 teams. On February 22 nine semi-finalist teams were narrowed down to a
field of four finalists that presented their businesses in an interactive session with investors and competed for the top
Pryor-Hale prize of $20,000.

$20,000 Pryor-Hale Award for Best Business
Focus - The Focus bracelet+app system automatically identifies
and records repetitions, sets, rest periods, weights, and exercis-
es/motions. Workout data is then uploaded online where users
can track progress, compete, and share results. Cavan Canavan
(MBA '12), Grant Hughes (MBA '13)
$10,000 Pryor-Hale Runner up.
$5,000 Williamson Award for Outstanding Business
& Engineering Team
Exo Dynamics is a medical device company dedicated to creating
the next generation of spinal orthoses. These devices, will drasti-
cally improve treatment processes for people afflicted with spinal
ailments. Maren Bean (MBA '13), Sam Beckett (BSE '12), Jorge
Sonz Guerrero (ME '11), Daniel Johnson (PhD '12), Pat Milligan (BSE
'14), Mushir Kwaja and Joungwook Lee (MBAs '12)
$2,500 Best Undergraduate Team
$2,000 Outstanding Presentation
Go Tickets is an innovative digital ticketing and promotional
platform that provides college athletic programs with the tools
necessary to more effectively control their ticket market and fan
base. Ari Luks (BBA '13), Tarrence van As (CSE '13)
$2,500 Marketing Award sponsored by Mark Petroff
Password Patterns is a company that seeks to use innovative
designs to make it easier for people to remember their passwords.
Benjamin Bagazinski (MSE '13), Bradley Kowalk (BA '13)

$2,000 Outstanding Presentation
PhaslO, Inc. is a biotechnology startup that develops, manufac-
tures, and markets multiplexed protein biomarker tests to life
scientists in academic institutions and pharmaceutical companies.
Arlyne Simon (PhD '13), Josh White (PhD '13)
$2,000 Best Written Plan
$2,500 Marketing Award sponsored by Mark Petroff
Torch Hybrid LLC is an engineering service provider that offers
marine hybrid powertrain manufacturers design and development
support in order to make boating cleaner and more sustainable.
Justin DAtri, Matt Lankowski and Sid Menon (MSs '12), Nate
Henschel (BA '14), Sammit Nene (BS '13), Swapna Potluri (MS '13),
Rob Peeler (MBA '14)
$7,500 Erb Award for Sustainability
Centricycle is a non-profit working to improve healthcare in rural
India through the implementation of sustainable diagnostic tech-
nology and education. Carolyn Yarina (BSE '13), Alex Thinath (BSE
'13), Michael Bodden (BBA '13), Harish Kilaru (BS '16),
Amin Haririnia (BA '13)
$200 was awarded to each of the 18 teams that advanced from
Round one and competed in Round two. $500 was awarded to
the five teams that competed in the semi-finals and did not
advance to Round two: Dinner With, DiscoverREAD, Password
Patterns, Torch Hybrid, and Universal Vaccine.

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