by Helena Witzke
There’s something more than just a little funny about certain CAS students. In fact, three in particular have been singled out for this trait at this year’s Last Bronco Standing, WMU’s annual comedy competition.
The competition’s final round featured only three of the 12 original hopefuls, who had been selected in two different preliminary rounds. All three finalists were students with majors in the College of Arts and Sciences—something rookie comedian and grand champion Joe Stando (B.A. Journalism) did not find surprising.
“As a reporter, I’ve developed the ability to interact with strangers well, and to be comfortable while having conversations,” he says, giving a nod to the School of Communication. “Some people would describe stand-up as being like public speaking…for me it’s more like just having a conversation with an audience. You can tell how they feel by what they’re laughing at and how different jokes are landing, and you can adapt to that,” he adds.
Stando looks forward to continuing his stand-up routines at local venues, encouraged by friend Alec Robbins, who placed second in the competition. Robbins is a film, video and media studies major, with a minor in creative writing. He has participated in Last Bronco Standing for the last three years and is the president of the WMU comedy club. Robbins does comedy locally and in Grand Rapids as a hobby, and recently participated in a weekend opener for Aisha Tyler, of FX’s “Archer.”
Finishing in third place was Brendan Duffy, a freshman at Western majoring in creative writing.
Nicholas Spaleny, Comedy Coordinator of the Campus Activity Board, was impressed with the support the contest received from fellow Broncos. “Around 250 people attended, nearly filling the South Ballroom of the Bernhard Center,” he said. “Last Bronco Standing is a great event for [Broncos] to showcase their talents to other students.”
Between the three of these students, the “funny”—in and around campus—isn’t likely to wear off any time soon. With these students just hitting their stride, there will be no shortage of laughs in Kalamazoo anytime soon.