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Design by Ali Bauersfeld

What’s Inside
Medill junior Ryder
Chasin to host The

’CATS
Blackout for Fall
Quarter
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Adaptation of ‘The
Great Gatsby’ focuses
on characters’ internal
shame
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’N’
‘Grounded’ focuses on
female empowerment,
human empathy
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COMEDY
Ali is a superstar because she made this page
wowow
entertainment

felt like maybe my voice didn’t fit in … I didn’t
By JENNIFER HEPP know what I was capable of at Northwestern.
daily senior staffer There’s a lot of grime and gore in my (work)
@jenniferhepp97 that isn’t totally in the Northwestern aesthetic.”
Sherman said Chicago gives comedians room
For recent graduate Sarah Sherman, leaving to explore their craft in a way that cities like
Northwestern was what finally liberated her New York and Los Angeles, where the popula-
comedy. tion of striving comedians is larger, cannot.
Sherman currently participates in a monthly Sherman still considers her recognition by
stand-up show she created, “Helltrap Night- the Chicago Reader an “unrealistic title” based
mare,” which is held at The Hideout, an inde- on how new she is to the scene, but she said
pendent comedy and music venue in Chicago. she is working hard to certify it, trying to find a
And after just a year as a full-time stand-up balance between writing, performing and taking
comedian, she was voted the best stand-up time for herself.
comic in the Chicago area by the Chicago “For a while, I had a show mostly every
Reader. night,” Sherman said. “I learned the hard way
Sherman’s comedy is hyperactive and pro- that you don’t get to write when you’re doing
fane, oftentimes breaking the fourth wall and that.”
addressing the audience as if she would her At “Helltrap Nightmare,” Sherman performs
friends. stand-up by herself, but also aims to incorporate
Sherman said the themes she explores in some of her friends, like fellow comedian Wyatt
the performances often involve body image, Fair (Communication ‘15), whom she called one
which she highlights via the use of visual art of the “funniest people on earth.”
arts &

components. Fair, one of Sherman’s closest friends from
“What I found out starting do stand-up is Northwestern, is also trying to break into the
there aren’t a lot of female identifying stand- Chicago comedy scene. Although he does not
ups, and there is not a lot of minority stand-ups see Chicago as a gateway into the mainstream
on large enough platforms,” Sherman said. “I comedy scene, he said everyone working in the
have used stand-up to explore my own problems city is essentially taking their “first step” in the
being a woman … I have grown up with society genre.
telling me that my body is a certain way.” “There’s a little bit more freedom in Chi-
Sherman said Chicago turned out to be a cago,” Fair said. “There is such a huge inde-
supportive community for the type of work she pendent comedy scene here … but it’s not as if
wants to do, but this type of creative freedom these people are going to put you on a sitcom.”
was not as available for her in the NU comedy Fair added although attending and per- sketches and performing improv.
scene. forming at different open mic nights helped Like Fair, fellow stand-up comedian David
“Overall, the kind of energy of the school introduce him to the comedy scene in Chi- Brown (Communication ‘16) said he also regu-
wasn’t very compatible with mine,” she said. “I cago, he has become more interested in writing larly attends open mic nights, where he sees a
lot of other people trying to do the exact same
thing he’s trying to do. Brown said it’s important
that the Chicago comedy scene is developing
new, young talent.
“While that’s the biggest problem, it’s also an
A&E

asset in that people will give you information,”
Brown said. “People will (tell you about) the
shows that they’re doing, or things that they’re
working on. It’s kind of a like a little mini col-
lege experience in that way.”
Brown said Chicago is also generally cheaper
than living in bigger entertainment hubs such
as New York City or Los Angeles.
However, many people eventually move out
there to pursue greater opportunities and more
acting-based gigs, Fair said. He said Chicago
does not restrict him to fit into any sort of mold,
allowing him to work just for the “sake of his
own craft.”
“A lot of people use (Chicago) to try ran-
dom stuff and get their legs under them and
meet other people trying to do the same thing,”
Brown said. “I’ve really found that to be true.”
Comedy is an essential part of a city’s enter-
tainment industry because people get to take a
break away from their daily routines. Fair said
being provocative or saying unexpected lines
becomes part of the experience for the audience,
who question what will happen next.
“By freaking people out, we’re bringing them
adrenaline, this sort of roller coaster feel,” Fair
said. “No one actually knows what’s gonna hap-
pen next. Making people laugh is of course the
goal.”

jenniferhepp2020@u.northwestern.edu