Spotlight Productions searches for the Last Laker Standing

Courtesy / Spotlight Productions
Jacob performing at Last Laker Standing last year

Courtesy / Spotlight Productions Jacob performing at Last Laker Standing last year

Shelby Pendowski

The talent of making others laugh is a skill with which some thrive and some flounder. If you have the gift of making people chuckle when you tell a tale or a joke, Grand Valley State University’s Spotlight Productions is looking for you.

On Jan. 23 and 24 from 7 p.m. to 9 p.m., Spotlight Productions is holding auditions for the comedy competition, Last Laker Standing, in the Kirkhof Center Room 1140. The process of becoming the Last Laker Standing includes not only this preliminary audition but also performances at the semi-finals on Feb. 1 and the finals on Feb. 8. The semi-finals include the top ten comedians who auditioned, and the finals further break the competition down to the top five comedians. Both of these events are in the Grand River Room at 9 p.m.

“They are open auditions and you need to have a time slot, but usually we save like a half hour at the end in case people do have walk-up auditions and didn’t get to us in time,” said Ashley Grzywacz, Spotlight’s Events and Traditions chair.

Comedians will be allowed four to six minutes to attempt to break the stoic faces of the panel of Spotlight members.

“There has been a lot of diversity in the past,” Grzywacz said. “What we look for is how the audition flows; we like to see a common theme in an audition rather than just random jokes thrown together because it is really hard for an audience to follow.”

The content of a skit is up to the individual; however, Spotlight requests that those auditioning refrain from jokes with racial slurs or offensive material.

After turning down the offer to compete again, last year’s winner of Last Laker Standing, Jacob Guajardo, accepted the role of host at the semi-finals.

“I just felt like maybe someone else should try to win this year,” Guajardo said.

Guajardo offered a few tips to prospective comedians for a successful performance: stay in one spot on the stage, know your audience, embrace your nerves rather than fight them, and make the jokes relatable.

Whether it is students’ first times performing or they are seasoned comedians, Guajardo’s overall advice is to remember why they are there.

“Keep in mind that our No. 1 goal as a comedian is to make people laugh,” Guajardo said. “I think that message kind of gets forgotten and people want to shock, or people want to be popular and they forget that the main goal is to entertain people and make them laugh.”

Winning Last Laker Standing, not only comes with the pride of a job well done but also prizes and opportunities. Spotlight is spending $800 to $1,000 on flat screen televisions and stereo systems for the top three comedians. The winner not only receives a prize but is awarded the opportunity to open for the annual comedian that performs at the Spotlight comedy event during Welcome Week in the fall semester.

“I got to open for one of my heroes, Hal Sparks,” Guajardo said. “I have loved him forever and it was just a really awesome experience, and I am hoping for the same kind of experience for whoever wins this year.”