As would be expected from someone who has her own stand-up comedy career, ComedySoc Auditor Emily Ashmore displays an easy-going confidence when talking about her society to the Tribune. ComedySoc which ranks amongst the smallest societies on campus with only two committee members has seen its fair share of ups and downs over the years and is once more undergoing a time of reflection.
The society, like many on campus, has a very fuzzy view of its own history and barring the previous titan of campus life Dara Ó Briain is pretty unsure of what other comedians it has set loose on the world. Also, like man societies, it has had its ups and downs over the years, with a number of years of being dormant or inactive.
Ashmore said that the society has tried many different approaches to comedy over the years, but at the moment the main focus was around organising gigs on campus for those interested. She pointed out that the city centre where all the comedy shows were located was just that bit too far for most students to travel unless they were truly committed, so she was aiming to bring some more shows to campus. Ideally, she was hoping to give UCD a name as a good venue for semi-regular comedy shows and to make it ‘more of a show’.
She noted that other comedy societies on other campuses such as in UL and UCC have flourished in recent years, not only producing their own shows and sketches but also getting better local acts on campus. Like many societies, Ashmore says she has looked to these well-established examples for ideas to improve her own offering on campus.
While the gigs have been her main focus for the year, she is also interested in finding ways to get more students engaged in comedy of their own. While a recent sketch that got picked up by Joe.ie didn’t do much to get more members for the society, it has managed to get more people interested in upcoming events and has her thinking about new ways to get people involved. A big focus on this front is the Student Open Mic, or as she called it ‘an introduction to doing stand up comedy’.
This gives students who may never have given serious thought to throwing themselves out into the world of comedy a chance to try it out and maybe find a new passion. Ashmore did note however that the ‘majority of our members don’t want to be comedians, they just have an interested in comedy and stand up comedy’.
For those that are more interested in getting themselves into the performance and production of comedy, she says there are opportunities available. The society has and does produce short comedy sketches which require help at all stages, from drafting the concept to acting it out. Ashmore also said that she was hoping to organise some workshops on how to do good stand up and what pitfalls to avoid, though noted that this was more difficult to arrange as it required buy-in from groups and people off campus.
Overall ComedySoc looks to be a learning experience for all involved. Those who are performing for the society are learning to hone their craft, and the society like so many other small societies is trying to figure out what is the best it can offer to campus life. This can be an uphill battle at times due to their small nature, but that doesn’t stop them from making the most of the situation.
If you are interested in checking out what ComedySoc are up to on campus you can find them running their next gig with comedian John O’Keefe on the 21st of November.
By Aaron Bowman – CoEditor