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Comedy Corner to host SICK festival

By Christopher Jivan
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
March 30, 2000
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Comedy Corner and ASUA are teaming up this Thursday and Friday for their eighth annual comedy show titled SICK 8, featuring comedy groups from around the country, as well as UA students interested in showcasing their comedic abilities.

SICK, which stands for Southwest Intergalactic Comedy Kermis, is being produced by creative writing sophomore Andrew Shemin, who has spent the past few months trying to bring this festival together.

"I began setting things up in November, but really started putting in a lot of hours for SICK 8 around January," Shemin said. "I've been calling people and trying to raise money for this. At first we didn't get a whole lot of money outside of ASUA (Associated Student), but then McDonald's came in and donated about 1,000 dollars. I guess they like our shows."

Thanks in part to Shemin, the comedy show will feature a number of resident University of Arizona comedy troops, such as the Charles Darwin Experience. Shemin has a few Tucson acts scheduled to appear, including Barren Mind and the Farside as well as the Laughing Stock.

Two groups will also be coming down from Arizona State University to join in on the antics. Shemin said he thinks the ASU comedians will be judged based on their talent and not the school in which they originate.

Hosting the show is comedian Paul Goebel, an UA alumnus who has been featured in various television advertisements.

"Goebel is really funny," Shemin said. "He's in those IHOP (International House of Pancakes) ads, where he plays the maple syrup guy. We were really lucky to get him. He came last year as an alumni, and I called him up to come back as our host."

Shemin said he is still a bit worried about whether or not all the groups will show up tonight. "So far, two groups had to cancel, the Oddvarks from Tucson and the Sitcom Boston from Boston," Shemin said.

Despite the set back, Shemin said he still expects a high turn-out, judging from the previous shows that Comedy Corner has held this year, which take place every Friday at 12 p.m. in the MSU Cellar.

"We've pretty much had about 300 people showing up each week for our shows," Shemin said. "But we're expecting this to be bigger. We still have a lot of really good acts coming to town for this."

On the Saturday following the show, Comedy Corner will also be holding a special comedy workshop series for anyone interested in exploring their humorous side.

"The workshops are designed to show what the comedy business is really all about," said Shemin. "They're also geared to help struggling comedians."

The activities begin at 10:15 Saturday morning with a workshop titled "surviving as a writer in Hollywood," which is followed by "improv" at 11:30, and then an informative lecture called "careers in comedy" at 1:45.

The workshops conclude at 4:00 with "the Harold," which is basically "a long form improv game designed to show people what improvisation comedy is capable of," said Shemin.

"These workshops should be really helpful," Shemin added. "They have some great tips on how to make it in the comedy business. People can get advice from the professional acts we have coming in."

Both the Saturday workshops and the comedy shows tonight and Friday night are open to the public. While Shemin and his fellow Comedy Corner members expect the comedy act to be exciting for them, Shemin said that is not their real motivation in doing the festival.

"It's fun to do," Shemin said. "We get a lot of experience and feedback. We learn something from the other groups coming in to perform and help out. But mainly we're just doing SICK 8 for the audience. There's so much for them to look forward to."

While the show is definitely worth checking out, those who can not make it to the show may have another shot at seeing Shemin and his fellow comedians at work, this time on a much larger scale.

"We just finished taping a show for NBC, a pilot called 'Comedy Bytes,'" said Shemin, who produced the pilot. "We did about four tapes worth of sketches and animation and short clips that we've collected from around the country. The show, if it's picked up, would air next fall during a prime time slot on Monday nights."

The SICK 8 comedy show takes place tonight and tomorrow night at 7 p.m. in the Senior Ballroom of the student union, with workshops on the following Saturday in MSU 256. The cost for the comedy shows is three dollars for students and five dollars for the general public. The workshops cost five dollars each or 10 dollars for all four.

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