This weekend, UNC was lucky enough to have two comedy shows headlined by Lewis Black.
Four students were even luckier.
UNC students Jack Morgan, Marcie Maier, Ngozi Ikeakanam, and Memet Walker had the opportunity to open for the shows after Black himself selected them in a stand-up competition.
“It’s such a privilege to have that opportunity,” said Maier, a sophomore psychology major. “It’s normally people at his skill level who open for him.”
Upon being chosen, each student had the opportunity to work with Black personally in order to better his or her stand-up routines.
“I think it’s really cool that we have a comedian that went to UNC and comes back to work with students,” said Walker, a political science major. “A lot of people wouldn’t do that if they had his success.”
Each student was able to focus on what made his or her comedy routine unique based off of Black’s suggestions and advice.
For instance, Maier said that Black appreciated her awkwardness in telling jokes.
“He has a really good vision of what works for an individual. Not everyone can be as angry as him,” she said. “There were certain things I could get away with by being awkward.”
Ikeakanam, a psychology major, said the experience proved that a successful future was in reach.
“I learned that I have potential,” he said. “If I keep working at it, I could probably do it, career-wise.”
After performing with the comedic giant, Black and friends took the students out to dinner where they were able to talk on a more informal level.
“He and his friends were just talking about working for ‘The Late Show’ and ‘The Daily Show’ like they were McDonald’s,” Walker said. “It was something I will never forget.”
Regarding Lewis Black himself, the students all agreed that he was not as intimidating as his angry and often vulgar comedy shows imply.
“Whenever you talk to an old person, they’re always so clean and proper,” Ikeakanam said. “He’s like an old guy that just slips in some curse words.”
All the student comedians said they were excited and grateful for the opportunity to work with Black. and they all hope to keep working and further expand their comedy careers. Meeting and learning from Lewis Black, who also teaches stand-up, will stay with them throughout.
“It was absolutely a dream come true because he is one of my heroes,” Walker said.
“Except in the dream I was naked.”
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