Three Georgetown undergraduate students showcased their comedic talent at the local “DC’s Best Young Comedians” showcase held at Dupont Underground on Sept. 6.
Student comedians Sahaj Sharda (SFS ’20), Gary Simons (COL ’21) and Daniel Ruescher (COL ’20) performed at the event hosted by entertainment agency Asteria Entertainment last week. The performances took place at the Dupont Underground arts space and featured 12 current and recent college graduate comedians from Georgetown, American University, George Washington University, Catholic University, University of Maryland, George Mason University, Johns Hopkins University and James Madison University.
Asteria Entertainment recruited young Washington, D.C. comedians to perform five-to-10 minute sets at the show, according to Sharda, who was contacted by the agency after performing at open mic events in the District throughout the summer. Sharda sent in copies of his act and was then contacted to perform at the event.
As all the comedians were in similar stages of their comedic careers, and because the event included an engaging audience of 300 people, the event was enjoyable for performers, according to Sharda.
“We were all in a similar place experience-wise,” Sharda said. “It was fun, everyone went up and did their sets for five-to-10 minutes, and the crowd really got into it. It was a really good time.”
Taking the step to send existing comedy work to Asteria Entertainment also provided the push needed for young comedians to create new content, according to Simons, who is a member of Georgetown Improv Association.
“A lot of times people want to do things but never do it, like never put forth the effort to make it happen, like writing material or practicing material,” Simons said. “It’s hard cause you have classes and there’s nothing forcing you to do it, so just putting myself out there, sending the stuff I had done and them saying yes, forced me to create kind of like new content.”
The event provided a platform for individuals with diverse backgrounds and voices to express their thoughts through comedy, something that does not happen frequently at Georgetown, according to Simons.
“I think that sometimes, especially in spaces like Georgetown, diversity in comedy doesn’t happen too much, so I was really happy that I got to get my voice out there and have it be heard,” Simons said.
Hosting a comedian showcase that highlights younger comedians provides current and recent college graduates with the respect and support they deserve, according to Rebecca Lamis, the founder of Asteria Entertainment.
“Most of the professional comedy venues do not always treat younger comedians with the respect they deserve,” Lamis wrote in an email to The Hoya. “I want to ensure everyone has a great time and feels valued when performing with Asteria.”
Asteria puts on events with the intent of providing artists with performance opportunities that they may not often encounter, according to Lamis. Keeping this goal in mind, Asteria puts on affordable events for college students in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia area such as “Better Than A Cappella: A Night of Stand-Up Comedy and Music” in February.
Performing in DC’s Best Young Comedians made doing standup in the future as a hobby a possibility, said Simons.
“I kind of recently, like last semester, realized that I enjoyed comedy, and I’m not sure that it’s necessarily a space that I want to do professionally, but I knew I definitely wanted to do more of it in just performing,” Simons said.
For those wanting to do standup comedy, performing at open mics and practicing jokes at smaller events is important when starting before moving on to comedy events like “D.C.’s Best Young Comedians” that require selection, according to Sharda.
“But I would say start at the open mic level, go to some of these things, sort of run your jokes, run your craft,” Sharda said. “You’re going to be bad probably for the first month, two months, three months, but eventually you’ll get the hang of it, and then something like this event is naturally going to appear on the horizons for you.”
Riley Rogerson contributed to this reporting.