The return to UNCG for the spring semester provides students with entertaining and free events available for all to attend across campus. The ten-day long stretch of events, known as Winterfest, is conducted by UNCG’s programming board, Activities and Campus Events (ACE).
While ACE is responsible for many of the events that take place throughout each semester, Winterfest is their first production of the new year.
Winterfest 2017 began with a kickoff event on Jan. 18 and will come to a close on Jan. 28 with a show by hypnotist Paul Ramsey. Among the events was an open mic night that provided students with an opportunity to showcase their talents, as well as a comedy show.
On Jan. 19 at 7 p.m., as a part of Winterfest, the comedy show took place in the EUC auditorium.
After a few days of being overwhelmed by new classes and reading overly detailed syllabi, a comedy show was just the ticket for those students who needed a momentary break away from reality.
Comedians JR De Guzman and Chris James took to the stage Thursday to entertain the crowd in attendance with an evening of stand-up comedy.
JR De Guzman opened the show. Guzman, born in the Philippines and raised in the U.S., took advantage of his unique upbringing and poked fun at himself. Throughout his act, jokes and anecdotes about his Philippine family and culture managed to make Guzman come across as relatable, creating a stronger connection between him and his audience.
Guzman utilized a guitar during a portion of his act. He sang short, witty songs, many equally as personal as his jokes. While musical comedy can frequently be alienating to audiences, the crowd laughed along as he played.
Chris James followed Guzman’s performance. James, a British-born comedian, followed with a similar self-deprecating type of humor. He joked about his heavy accent at the start, as his voice is an immediate surprise to those unfamiliar with his comedy. Throughout his act, he showcased a variety of accents. His hyper demeanor was a contrast to Guzman, who maintained a much more relaxed persona while on stage. His enthusiasm while performing was contagious, resulting in an audience that was continuously engaged.
Many people are not overly familiar with the genre of performance known as stand-up comedy. It’s much more common to overhear someone announce they are going to a movie or a concert than it is to hear someone say that they’re going to a comedy show.
Those that are somewhat familiar with stand-up still may have never witnessed a show in person before. While Youtube and Netflix are overflowing with stand-up comedy specials nowadays, it used to be that the only way to get your comedy fix was to go out and see these performers in person. The experience of seeing these jokes told on a stage before you, as opposed to on a computer or television screen, is an entirely different experience. The comedians feed off of the energy produced by the audience, and being a part of that energy adds an element to the experience that is not existent when watching through a screen.
Winterfest is to thank for the opportunity to experience Guzman and James’ comedy. Not only was the show free for those with a student ID, but ACE also provided every attendee with a punch card to hold onto and take to any other Winterfest events they may attend throughout the coming days. If a student attended at least four events, a prize was available to be collected. The comedy show was an opportune time to add a punch to your card.
The semester looming ahead is likely to be filled with impossibly busy weeks that likely grant little free time. UNCG’s ACE provides students with a chance to momentarily step away from these stresses, for however brief a time that may be. ACE will continue to sponsor different outlets that allow students to take a step back from their school and workloads over the remainder of the semester, but Winterfest and its events were a great taste of what is to come from the organization in future months.