Humor U’s Hannah Wing has always had an affinity for standup comedy and has spent several years performing under the spotlight. Now the vice president of BYU’s standup comedy troupe, Wing said standup has provided her with more than just lightheartedness but has changed her life for the better.
Being funny and coming up with new material comes easier to her now, but her love for comedy took its time growing into her own solid material.
“I guess the first standup comedian I ever loved was Ellen DeGeneres,” Wing said. “She is so funny, and her stuff is all clean.”
Wing’s taste in comedy matured as she spent time listening to comedians like Jim Gaffigan, Brian Regan and Dax Shepard.
Wing felt compelled to take to the stage her senior year of high school after noticing that the same, boring acts were put on year after year. “All of the talents were some dude with his guitar,” Wing said.
Wing soon found that coming up with solid gag material was more difficult than she originally anticipated. She started writing her first standup material during her sophomore year of high school, but it took her two years to finish it.
Students and faculty were impressed with her performance and requested that she perform at the end-of-year high school talent show. “That was stress because they were like, ‘You took two years to write this; now take two months to write the next one,” Wing said.
Standup comes naturally to Wing now, as she has performed every month for the last three years under the Humor U banner; but being a veteran of the comedy club comes with its own challenges. She has many responsibilities, such as designing and producing banners and flyers, along with promoting the actual shows. “I’m an advertising major, so this stuff is portfolio gold,” she said.
But it’s not all work and no play. Outside of stage time, the club still manages to have a laugh together, whether it’s going out for a meal on the weekends of performances or ordering in pizza for club nights.
One of Humor U’s unique attributes is that, as one of the only BYUSA clubs that actually make money from their events, it can give away T-shirts and hoodies along with throwing its best material at the audiences. Another perk the troupe’s revenue provides is workshops with professional comedians.
Freshman Natalie Dillon has already attended a Humor U show despite only being a BYU student for a few weeks. “It was fun. It was lighthearted, something to get away from studying,” she said.
She was pleasantly surprised by the performance. “I was impressed at how funny people are on campus,” Dillon said.
It turns out that being a part of standup comedy also provides skills that could become great stepping-stones into future careers instead of just being a way to meet new and interesting people in Provo.
“It was really hard finding a balance, but it was a skill that I’m really grateful for,” Wing said. “It has been really helpful in learning how to manage my time. I learned how to care for something and take part in something without letting it consume my life.”
Wing asserted Humor U not only contributes to her personal life but is also helping achieve BYUSA’s main objectives. “I feel like BYUSA exists to give a place where people feel like they belong. … BYUSA can’t help everybody, but because they have all these clubs, there is a place for everybody here,” she said.
Wing encouraged all who want to try their jokes out in front of other people, discover new material or just have a good time to attend Humor U’s “open mic nights” on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. in the Maeser Auditorium.
Humor U’s upcoming show dates are slated for Oct. 25 and 26, with end-of-semester shows taking place on Dec. 5 and 6. Tickets will go on sale at the Wilkinson Center Information Desk.