Students receive the gift of comedy

Helen Hong gives a presentation on stage
Helen Hong 's material consists of her experiences of living with Korean Methodist parents, attending a dry wedding and being an equal opportunity dater. She's appeared on the Arsenio Hall show, Inside Amy Shumer and Scream Queens. Photo credit: Nathalie Ramirez

Students kick off their spring semester by attending the first “Laugh Your Class Off” at the University Student Union on a Friday night.

Hosted by CSUN alumni Jonnae Thompson and event coordinator Freddy Martin, the event offered pizza, drinks, raffle prizes and most importantly, the performances of professional comedians: Helen Hong, Jeremiah Watkins and London Brown.

Martin is a fourth-year marketing major who has recognized the increasing student turnout at these events due to the USU’s marketing team having a stronger social media presence. As a comedy aficionado, Martin took the role in planning and booking comedians for the CSUN community.

Other services provided by the USU include sign language interpreters for deaf students.

“When it comes to my work, there is no boundary in comedy,” said part-time interpreter Kristi Meador, who has interpreted for other events on campus such as Big Comedy. “They think it’s funny; seeing what I do [when I sign]” Meador said.

Both as professional comedian and alumni with a degree in English, Thompson opened the show with her material, which consisted of her mother’s frugal habits during her college experience where she described her weight gain as the “Freshman 50, not 15.”

Thompson stated that comedy is important for CSUN students. She also added that L.A the “mecca of comedy.”

“Comedy is healing work. I’m not a doctor, but comedy is healing [in a certain aspect]” Thompson said.

Once a student herself, Thompson affirms that college is stressful and students need a “space to unwind.” Her idea of bringing comedy to a college campus was also inspired by the struggle of finances that students shouldn’t have to worry about

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Jonnae Thompson
CSUN English major alumni and professional comedian Jonnae Thompson, opens with the first stand-up by providing whimsical financial advice to CSUN students for her comedic material. Photo credit: Nathalie Ramirez

One of the headliners, Helen Hong, revealed a spectrum of comedic material from online dating to attending a “dry wedding.” Hong was inspired to pursue comedy after attending a comedy class in New York.

“I was depressed, feeling unfulfilled and when I got the first laugh on stage, I got hooked” Hong stated.

After seeing a slight increase in Asian comedians, Hong explains that despite the Asian community having a “quiet culture,” they’re Americans too.

The next “Laugh Your Class Off” will be on March 3 in the Games Room at the USU.