SCOMEDY, USC’s comedy group, is bringing Erik Griffin, best known for his role as Montez on the TV show Workaholics, to Tommy’s Place on Tuesday to headline the group’s October show.
USC alumni Jack Michelman and Jim Bonutto founded SCOMEDY in 2011 through their joint production group JIMJAK Entertainment, and will host Tuesday’s show.
“L.A. is one of the most rich and dense areas in the country for comedians, and I would love to keep bringing that to USC,” Michelman said.
Last semester, Michelman and Bonutto successfully produced a show and panel at USC for Comedy Central, which they called the Workaholics Week. The panel was held in Bovard Auditorium and nearly filled the room.
“The panel discussion was really entertaining, and it was cool to get a more personal feeling for the characters I’m familiar with from a TV show,” said Chris Norwood, a junior majoring in geological sciences.
Stand-up comedian Demetri Martin from Comedy Central even made an appearance and delivered never-before performed jokes to the USC audience.
“I thought he was really funny, but I think he thought he wasn’t sure it wasn’t funny. He was self-deprecating,” said Matt Eighmy, a sophomore majoring in environmental studies.
Last year, Michelman and Bonutto brought Bobby Lee of MadTV, Adam Devine, Erik Griffin, Demetri Martin, TJ Miller, Bryan Callen from The Hangover, Dov Davidoff, Iliza Shlesinger, Ben Gleib, Dan Levy, Bret Ernst, Adam Ray from The Heat, Owen Benjamin, Brad Williams and Andrew Santino of Arrested Development fame to perform at USC.
“These were the biggest names in comedy coming to our shows,” Michelman said. “It shocks me to this day on who we got to come — to a free show, mind you.”
Michelman has followed Devine‘s career since he first started performing at comedy clubs. Years later, he found himself working with Devine and inviting him to USC to perform.
Sophomore political science major Alec White attended one of Devine’s shows last semester.
“His jokes were well-suited for a college-aged crowd,” White said. “There were also a couple pop culture references that really worked.”
Part of SCOMEDY’s aim is to develop talent at USC. The openers for performances are composed of USC students who are aspiring comedians and perform their own original jokes.
“They did a great job bringing in two [opening] comedians. The opening act was basically as good as the main comedian,” White said.
Will Getz, a senior double majoring in chemistry and East Asian languages and cultures, was also impressed by the student comedians.
“[The comedy] has a higher degree of reliability because the comedians come from ’SC. [Most student comedians] are of the same general age [as professionals],” Getz said.
Michelman has found different methods to attract an audience to SCOMEDY events, which are all funded by Bonutto and USC Spectrum. One of the ways he advertises the events are through original fliers he hangs around campus.
Admission to the event is free and open to all USC students. SCOMEDY is held the first Tuesday of every month and features professional Los Angeles comedians, as well as some USC student comedians.
The fliers have the logo of SCOMEDY on it with a one-line tease, such as, “It’s almost better than sex,” or, “Harder, better, faster, funnier.”
Michelman also intends to give out free tickets to “The BIG Show LA” at Hollywood Improv.
Though SCOMEDY hosted a lot of big names in the past year, Michelman said he and Bonutto are only just getting started. The pair plans to talk to Comedy Central and bring speakers from the company back for an annual panel of comedians. Another priority of the organization is to start building a USC comedy team.
“I think that SCOMEDY events that provide a healthy way for people to relax and laugh a little are really helpful during what may otherwise be a stressful semester of school work,” Norwood said.
Michelman said he is very passionate about comedy, which fueled his desire to continue working at USC through SCOMEDY after he graduated.
“It is totally a Trojan experience,” he said. “It is one of the most memorable things I’ll have for college -— and I still get to do it.”
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