Comedy Club takes funny business seriously

Published 2010-11-15T19:45:00Z”/>


Sarah Brown

With more than 16,000 students on campus sharing laughs with only their close friends, a lot of funnies are going unshared with the rest of the student population.

At least that’s what senior communication design major Daniel Wardwell thinks. When he first came to Chico State as a freshman, he was ready to start making people laugh, but there wasn’t a club that offered the opportunity.

“I like making people laugh,” Wardwell said. “It’s one of the best feelings you could ever have in the whole world.”

Now a senior, Wardwell didn’t want to waste any more time, he said. He is now founder, president and chief executive officer of the Chico State Comedy Club and wants a variety of humor reflected there.

“There’s not one kind of funny,” Wardwell said. “I want every kind of funny, except for not-funny people. I don’t want not-funny people in the club. Although not funny can be funny, someone who thinks they’re funny, but is not funny, isn’t funny,” he said.

The purpose of the club is for students to make something and enjoy it together, Wardwell said. The club also attends open mics and has plans for fundraisers, an improv team and of one day putting on its own show. Wardwell also wants to create a club T-shirt.

“That’s the final goal – to make sure we get a very cool T-shirt,” he said. “And an advertisement on the B-Line bus.”

If students have ever made a YouTube video, drawn a comic or thought of one joke and enjoyed it, then the club wants them, Wardwell said.

“I want you to come and do the thing you do that you like to do and share it with us,” he said.

The club has 30 names on the e-mail roster, with roughly 10 to 15 people showing up on a given night, Wardwell said. Those who wanted to be vice president of the club had to battle for the title in an open mic show at Bustolini’s Deli, with Alex Coffin taking the prize.

That’s when graduate student Dave Hazard, a social work major, first heard about the club, Hazard said.

Self-proclaimed “punster” of the group, Hazard thinks the club is a safe place to get over the fear of speaking in front of crowds, he said.

Comedy also provides other benefits.

Laughter is good medicine for those who are anxious or depressed, said Mimi Bommersbach, director of the Counseling and Wellness Center. In addition to counseling, having a creative outlet like comedy is just as important as exercise to relieve some of the stress associated with difficult things in life.

“Humor is a way of looking at things sometimes that you would have a difficult time looking at,” she said.

Life is hard and serious all the time, said Bob Backstrom, owner of Bustolini’s Deli who hosts amateur comedy nights. If people don’t take a chance, step back and laugh at life, they’re all just going to be miserable.

If there isn’t a cure for the overly serious, there needs to be a cure, he said.

People who take themselves way too seriously have high blood pressure and aren’t as successful in life – at least, that’s what Hazard has heard.

“For serious people, the cure is just a band from the ’80s,” he said.

If people don’t think club members are funny, then the club wants newcomers to try to top them, Hazard said.

“We’re like Richard Marx,” he said. “We’re right here waiting for you.”

Sarah Brown can be reached at

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