LMAO Comics Talk Worst Shows, Dating

The stage in Sanders Theatre is flanked by marble statues of important men draped in cloth and gesturing grandly—hardly the expected venue for discourses about fisting and an apocalypse-themed prom. However, on September 1, young comics from Harvard brought these and a range of other irreverent themes to the stage during LMAO: A Night of Comedy.

The event included performances from campus groups Harvard College Stand-Up Comedy Society, Hasty Pudding Theatricals, Immediate Gratification Players, On Harvard Time, On Thin Ice, Respectably French!, and Three Letter Acronym, with professional comic Harrison R. Greenbaum ’08 headlining. The Crimson sat down with Doug M. Bright ’13 (OHT; TLA), Carina M. Livoti ’14 (HCSUCS), Andrew N. Shindi ’13 (OHT; OTI), Katherine C. Damm ’13 (IGP), and Tessa M. Kaplan ’13 (HPT) for a roundtable discussion of what it means to be a comic.

The Harvard Crimson: So, does being a comedian help you or hinder you romantically?

Katherine C. Damm: Definitely helps. That’s all I’ll say.

Doug M. Bright: People like people who can make [them] laugh. I probably don’t do it on purpose, like as a way to trap people.


Andrew N. Shindi: I mean, do you guys tell people that you do comedy when you’re meeting someone new or going on a date?

DMB: [Snorts] No.

KCD: I do, and they’re always like, “Really?”

ANS: Or you tell them and they say, “Oh! Be funny! Do something funny, like, right now.”

Carina M. Livoti: Just slap them in the face and walk away.

ANS: My fallback is to pretend I’m Henry Clay. “Great Compromiser? I hardly know her!”

THC: Is there anything that makes you laugh out loud? Or are you jaded?

ANS: Very jaded.

KCD: I laugh at everything.

CML: If you came to a stand-up meeting and performed your material for us, if people are nodding, you’re doing well. People get nervous and think, “Oh no, I’m not funny.” It’s not that you’re not funny. It’s that we’re jaded.

THC: Tell me about LMAO.

ANS: The purpose of LMAO is to get Harvard freshmen, or really anyone at the College, interested in comedy at Harvard…. People think that we’re just, like, not funny individuals who only study and make really great social networking sites, and that’s not true.

THC: Have you ever had a joke that you were excited about that bombed?

CML: Oh, God, stand-up. That’s what we’re all about…I think stand-up is different from improv because the jokes are like your babies. You come up with a concept…you run it past some people, and you keep playing with it until you feel like you can deliver it in front of an audience. And sometimes, that joke that you nursed all the way up—you get in front of the audience, and they’re not in sync with your dementia.

THC: Do you have an example?

KCD: Yeah—just relive that memory, in front of all of us.

CML: I’ve done whole shows where it feels like you bombed…my best example is myfreshman spring. We did a show in Quincy Cage…. I didn’t feel like anyone laughed at my jokes, but there were also clanging pipes and they were sitting on the floor inside of a cage.

DMB: That’s interesting that you mention that [venue], because when we’re dealing with LMAO, we’re dealing with the complete opposite…an awkwardly formal space.

ANS: Hallowed, academic ground.

THC: If you were having a terrible show, and it was a forgone conclusion that people would throw things at you, what would you want thrown at you?

CML: Johnny Depp.

KCD: Money. Just make it rain.

ANS: I get hungry late at night, so food would be fine.

—Staff writer Sorrel L. Nielsen can be reached at