Once a month, UPB hosts a comedy show in TDU known as Funny Freakin’ Friday. The show is a great way to get a laugh in after a stressful week of classes. The first show of the semester debuted on Friday, September 20th, at 8 p.m. and ran for one hour. It featured comedian and writer Ismael Loutfi. Ismael is known for his appearances on Jimmy Kimmel Live, as well as his role as a writer for Patriot Act with Hasan Minaj. He performed a unique set for the crowd of students, touching on relatable topics, like family dynamics, college life, and branching off into more serious subjects, like racism and islamophobia.
Loutfi had the crowd laughing from the start after swearing accidentally and promptly trying to cover his tracks. Unsure of how to proceed, Loufti asked, “Am I allowed to swear?” to the UPB members in the crowd.
After getting the green light to speak freely, he launched into his show. One joke Loutfi told was about a woman he dated and her obsession with horoscopes. Everything in their short relationship was dictated by her zodiac sign, from their dates to their break up. The joke received an enthusiastic cheer from the crowd, as surely everyone knows someone who takes their horoscopes too seriously.
During his set, Loufti was sure to interact with students in the audience. Throughout the show, he had certain audience members he would return to for comments, or to incorporate into a joke. Rozlan Bashe, a junior Biology major was one such student. “It made the show much better,” he said. “And I liked that he remembered all of our names.”
Seeing Loufti put the students on the spot got a lot of laughs from the crowd. Many students were wondering which of them would be brought into the show next.
Loutfi also joked about his alma mater, University of Florida, and his strong dislike for the school. He was not a fan of the town of Gainesville or the social climate of the school. He recounted a story from a previous show in which four people from the crowd stood up and gave him the famous Gator Chomp, a move symbolic of UF pride. Loutfi told the crowd he was happy to spoil their night by ranting about what he disliked most about the university.
One topic Loufti discussed at length was the relationship between his Muslim upbringing and living in the South. He joked about starting up in the industry, and the issues and islamophobia that he came across, and still faces to some degree today. Loufti’s use of humor confronts the seriousness of these issues and adds some humanity to them. It shines a light on the absurdity of extremist beliefs and makes it easier for others to sympathize with his past struggles. “All of his bits dealt with something I experience too,” Rozlan said on this subject.
This iteration of Funny Freakin’ Friday was a huge success with many students still laughing as they left TDU. “It’s a great way to get a laugh and destress a bit,” says Abby Price, a sophomore Nursing Major and a member of UPB. If you’re looking for a fun friday night activity, check out the next show on November 1st! For more information follow this link: https://info.jmu.edu/upb/events/