Comedy competition announces Last Laker Standing

GVL / Eric Coulter
Host Pete Dominick

Eric Coulter

GVL / Eric Coulter Host Pete Dominick

Briana Doolan

Grand Valley State University’s sixth-annual Last Laker Standing competition, hosted by Spotlight Productions, announced Casey Stoddard as the winner of Saturday night’s competition.

“I was surprised and excited,” said Stoddard, a senior creative writing major at GVSU. “Really, I just wanted to perform to get my name out there and winning was just a bonus. I had auditioned every year and never made it through to the semis until this year, so actually being able to be a part of the show this year was exciting and I’m glad I got to do it.”

Pete Dominick, warm-up comedian from Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” and “The Colbert Report” and host of XM Satellite Radio’s ‘Stand Up With Pete Dominick” hosted the competition, performing before and after the show and between acts, setting the bar high for the semi-finalists, who had 10 minutes on stage to sell their best material.

“It was sensational,” said Sophie Ni, second-place winner of Last Laker. “The relationship between the comedian and the audience is so crucial, and the feedback I was receiving made me feel so comfortable sharing my material on stage.”’

Ni said she couldn’t have been more please coming in second place and she offered some advice for other comedians around campus.

“All comedy is derived from honesty and truth,” Ni said. “The more of yourself that you can put into your performance, the better. Also, remember your audience. It’s a conversation. In order for a conversation to work, you must be conscientious of who you are talking to.”

Among other semi-finalists who performed was second-place winner Joe Stahura, Stand Up Comedy Club President Aric Pike and Joel Wood.

“I was nervous, I’m always nervous when I do a show,” Stoddard said, though nerves did not stop him from coming out on top. “Once a got a few jokes in, I relaxed a little bit, but I was still worried I was going to screw up the wording of a joke or mess up my delivery. For me, not looking at the crowd helps me stay calm and gives the illusion that I’m confident in what I’m doing.”

Stoddard also had advice for fellow comics.

“Perform and write as often as you can and don’t be afraid to bomb,” Stoddard said. “The only way you get better is to get up in front of a group of strangers and try to make them laugh.”

He also suggested that students check out the comedy shows in Grand Rapids. He recommended open mic nights at Dr. Grin’s Comedy Club on Thursdays and The Sunday Night Funnies at The Raddison Hotel on Ann Street, which features local comedians.

Prizes included an iPad for first place, a 32” 720p TV for second and a blender for third.

For more information about Spotlight Productions or future events, check out the Facebook page at

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