Rows of students bent over in their seats, their mouths gaping and their faces bewildered for a mere second before breaking out into laughter. At first glance, the “Get SIFE’d” comedy event put on by the Students in Free Enterprise (SIFE) group at Club 88 seemed like a roaring success with a full house of 50 to 60 students in attendance that Friday night, Nov. 12. However, the five comics that took on Club 88’s center stage brought with them various comic material, ranging from stories about awkward encounters with Bluetooth users to the subjection of audience members to racial stereotypes and teasing. While the comedy night triggered various responses following the event, above all, there was laughter.
“It was better than I expected,” junior Tyler Lau said. “The comics were pretty funny. I thought the Asian jokes were funny.”
To market their club to students, Whittier’s SIFE group, a collection of mostly Business Administration major students, organized a comedy night hoping to promote students to “Get SIFE’d.” SIFE is a non-profit, international organization that encourages students to organize educational outreach projects and teach market economics, entrepreneurship and business ethics to the community. Whittier’s SIFE group, which currently has 25-30 members, participated at the national SIFE competition this year after winning a championship title at the regional level.
The offer of extra credit for class seemed to draw a majority of the “Get SIFE’d” crowd as comic Joe Ramirez discovered when he asked those specific audience members to “make some noise,” and was greeted with a rousing response.
Despite added elements of free food, raffle tickets and a brief introduction to SIFE, the main feature of the night were the comics invited to campus, which included Michael Gonzalez, Jerry Garcia, Ramirez and Joey Medina, a comedian who has, according to latinostandup.com headlined almost every major comedy club in the United States and performed throughout the world. A friend of Medina also spontaneously took on the stage with a few jokes of his own.
“Ready? To be or not to be,” Medina joked early in his standup about the possible conversation that would occur in Poet football huddles. While the Whittier College mascot was poked fun at throughout the night, topics at the comedy event included relationships, sex, marriage, children, strippers and, most notably, racial identity and stereotypes.
“The difference between blacks and Mexicans are that black people steal property and Mexicans steal identities,” Garcia said in his standup. Later on, he would go on to state that he “hated stereotypes.”
It was not until later in the night that Medina began to single out audience members to tease and ask questions, including a female student who he initially referred to by her breasts, two African -American male students and an Asian-American male student.
“I don’t think the comedians knew what they were getting into [because they were asking questions about the school],” senior Jennice Ontiveros said. “They were at their own element. To make fun of us was taken too far, but I definitely laughed.”
Medina, who served as the night’s headlining comic, incorporated a discussion of stereotypes in his standup but seemed to use the most stereotypical references of all the comics that night.
“The cool thing is that we can make fun of ourselves, we can make fun of other people,” Medina said during his standup. “No one has a stick up their ass. We get it. They’re jokes. Nobody means it. This country is so politically correct that if you say anything at your job or your school, you [have to be careful when you say it.] This country is so politically correct, it’s bullshit.”