GV faces off against MSU in a comedy showdown


Courtesy / Andrew Zonca

Ayron Rutan, Staff Writer

In collaboration with Spartan Stand Up of Michigan State University, Grand Valley State University Stand Up hosted “MSU vs. GVSU,” a free comedy show that took place at GVSU’s Cook-Dewitt Center. 

The show featured a stacked line-up of comics from both GVSU and MSU, including Faizan Malik, Sam Batali, Ritwik Verma, Yasmeen Guzman, Damian Gonzalez, Ryan Fitzgerald and Kyle Maclean.

GV Stand Up describes themselves as a walk-on based comedy troupe that performs stand-up comedy monthly on campus and at comedy clubs all around Grand Rapids. The troupe is open to any GVSU students who want to join and have a love for stand up comedy. 

The group was started by GVSU student Andrew Zonca after a previous stand-up club dissolved.

“There was a stand-up club at Grand Valley before COVID,” Zonca said. “That club closed down due to lack of membership and everyone on the board had graduated. Nobody wanted to pick it up so I picked up the pieces and totally re-built it.”

Zonca said he founded GV Stand Up in an attempt to resurrect the old club and fuel his other interests by doing so.

“I was a theater kid for a little bit in high school,” Zonca said. “So being on a stage and being loud in general has always been something I have enjoyed. I actually tried stand-up because I really enjoy writing. I’m on the Anchored In Poetry team too, even though I’m an IT major.” 

“MSU vs. GVSU” was actually born out of a friendship between Zonca and another comic from Lansing, Fazan Malik (President of MSU’s stand-up club). Zonca said that they met due to the friendly dynamic of stand-up comedy in Michigan. 

“There’s Grand Rapids comics, Lansing comics, and Detroit comics,” Zonca said. “Grand Rapids comics and Lansing comics intermingle with each other because we’re only an hour away. While in Lansing I ran into Fazan and we’ve been close ever since.”

When Zonca spread the word about GV Stand Up’s first event, Malik jumped on the opportunity. 

“When I announced that I was going to be doing this open mic, Fazan said that he wanted to be a part of it and that he could bring his MSU boys,” Zonca said. “I said absolutely because I knew it was going to be a hilarious collaboration.” 

Of the abundant lineup of talented comics, Zonca said that he was most excited to see some familiar faces like Malik and the other MSU boys. 

The event took some work to get organized and promoted. Zonca said it was a thorough, multi-step process that required registering the group, reserving the space, booking the comics, and then promoting the show. 

“After I reserved the room, I made a Facebook page and promoted the show to comics,” Zonca said. “Probably the hardest part of the whole comedy business is booking and getting people to the show. Once the show starts, it’s pretty easy to manage everything.”

Each of the show’s seven featured comics performed a 7-10 minute set for a total run time of an hour and a half. 

Due to the show being free and not sponsored by GVSU, comics were given full freedom for any jokes they wanted to tell, as long as they followed a few small guidelines. 

“There aren’t technically any rules because this show isn’t sponsored by the university,” Zonca said. “I usually go by the thumb of if you would face severe repercussions for what you’re saying (outside of a comedy show) then don’t say it. I usually don’t like having sexual harassment jokes or people spreading misinformation about things like the vaccine at my mic.”

Varying styles from the different comics from both GVSU and MSU made for a fun night full of humor, laughter, and everything in between. 

GV Stand Up will be hosting another free College Town Comedy show at the Cook-Dewitt Center on Sept. 17 at 8:00 p.m. 

For more information about GV Stand Up, you can visit their page on LakerLink, or their Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/CTCGVSU/?ref=py_c.