Event brings eight years of laughter



by Jen Taylor

The Cat’s Den has been making students laugh for eight years now.

The free Comedy Caravan shows, held every Wednesday at 8 p.m., have basically kept the same format. A student host will open the show by introducing the comedians and maybe doing some stand-up of his or her own, then three professional comedians will follow. The most well-known, the headliner, closes the night.

There is no doubt about it; comedy nights at the Cat’s Den are R-rated. Adult themes are a consistent topic of comedy.

“Everyone is 18,” Steve Pearce, the current event host, said. “There’s nothing in the show that an 18 year old can’t listen too.”

The Comedy Caravan got its start in 2003 with the idea from a student named Ross Duncliffe. He had aspirations of becoming a professional comedian and worked with the Student Center to create a place where UK students could watch great comedians and even have a chance to try a little stand-up themselves.

The show has come a long way since then, doubling its budget from $500 a week to $1,000 a week. The size of the crowd at most shows has also grown. This year, a small crowd is about 30 to 50 people, an average crowd about 70 and a good crowd 100 or more.

Pearce is a marketing and advertising senior who recently celebrated his year anniversary with the Caravan. He said he may want to someday combine his marketing degree with his love of comedy and become a screen writer.

Pearce said one of the greatest benefits of doing stand-up is the general improvement in self confidence that you get. You have to become unafraid of failing on stage and taking it in stride.

Pearce is occasionally paid to perform at Buster’s Billiards & Backroom and has performed at Comedy Off Broadway’s open mic night.

Comedy Caravan posters are hung every Tuesday to promote the show. These posters always have a picture of a different city in the background, along with the headshot of the headlining comedian. Keep up with the Comedy Caravan on Facebook through its fan page. By liking the fan page, students are not sent notifications every week, but can view the page for upcoming show information.

The posters on campus advertising the Comedy Club feature facial close-ups of Pearce. He said the idea started out as a joke, then turned into reality when Rob Theakston, assistant director of event marketing and student programming for the Student Center, thought it was a way for the Comedy Caravan posters to stand out among all the other activity posters. Pearce said, “It was kind of weird sitting in a classroom in Whitehall and seeing my face above the chalkboards,” but that no one “has ever said anything to me about my face being on a poster. I like to think that people notice and just don’t say anything.”

Past performers at the Comedy Caravan have included Torian Hughes, seen on Comedy Central and a former writer for MadTV, Roy Haber, who opened for Dave Chappelle, and Kris Shaw, who opened for Mitch Hedberg.