Hudson High School comics will perform at Friday Night Stand Up 6While Hudson High School is known for the musical and theatrical talents of many of its students, there’s another, smaller group that is also gaining some notoriety – not for the notes they sing but the laughs they get.
By: Meg Heaton, Hudson Star-Observer
While Hudson High School is known for the musical and theatrical talents of many of its students, there’s another, smaller group that is also gaining some notoriety – not for the notes they sing but the laughs they get.
Next Friday, May 18, four comedians who are also HHS students will perform in the school’s sixth Friday Night Stand Up Show in the school auditorium beginning at 7 p.m. The show features Shea Van Gelder, Karl Wertheimer, Tucker Millett and Emerson Korum.
They have performed in other venues including some “open mic” events in the Twin Cities and some talent shows but they say the shows at HHS, three of them a year, are the most fun and the most challenging because they are in front of their peers.
“We decided that rather than wait for talent shows or other chances to perform, we’d just do our own, and that’s worked,” said Wertheimer, a junior. “This is the sixth show and we usually get audiences of between 200-300 people, mostly kids. It’s free and people seem to like it.”
Van Gelder, 17, is a senior and was encouraged to join the others on stage back in January. When asked why she wanted to try stand-up, she said, “Why not. I did go back and forth, but in the end I decided if I didn’t try it, I’d be disappointed.”
Van Gelder says her performance will run about 8-11 minutes and her material includes a lot of jokes about cats. She doesn’t own a cat but she seems to get a lot of laughs from her observations of them. She says she gets some of her best ideas for material right before she falls asleep.
She said she gets nervous in the days and hours before performing. “But that all goes away once I’m on stage.”
Millett, 17, is a junior. He has been performing comedy for several years. He says ideas for material come to him randomly. “I can be in the car or the shower or in class. That’s how it begins, and then I keep working on it until it sounds right to me.” He admits that his dad is an easy target for his humor.
Wertheimer, also 17 and a junior, has a more disciplined approach to writing his routine. “I have to barricade myself in my room or somewhere and just pound it out. I can work on it for hours at a time for weeks. And I spend a lot of time practicing out loud.”
Wertheimer says his family provides him with material. “That’s where most of my jokes come from. ‘Steps’ are good for that.”
Korum, 17, and another junior, describes his comedy as “all over the place” but finds his material tends to be about girls and women and “just how weird they can be.” His most tense time is in the week leading up to a performance where he spends his time staying up late writing and then testing the material in front of friends.
Wertheimer said there is always a difference in writing material and performing it. “Things sound funny on paper but don’t seem to translate when you say them out loud. But it always surprises me – what the audience reacts to and what they find funny or not funny.”
Korum agrees and says it is easy to second guess your material. “But I’ve found that it is better to just stick with it – and what happens, happens.”
Millett said they aren’t always the best judge of their own material. “We work with it so much that it isn’t funny to us anymore. Thankfully that’s not the case with the audience.”
All four comics say they steer clear of politics and bad language but there isn’t much else that is off limits. Wertheimer once joked about being one of the few Jewish kids in Hudson. “I usually end up in a talk with Ms. Love after a show. Sometimes you just push the boundaries.”
Everyone remembered the show where Millet took aim at the Raidaires, the school dance team. “It was pretty amazing but the audience was loving it,” said Van Gelder.
Korum said at first members of the team didn’t seem to think it was funny but he believes they got that it was just part of Millett’s routine.
Said Millett, “I kind of worried about it a little but I went ahead and the audience got it.”
While all four comics say they enjoy stand-up, only Millett sees it as part of his life long-term. But they will all keep at it for the foreseeable future and are always on the lookout for new talent to join them.
Admission to the event is free and open to the public.