Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

Established 1874.

The Oberlin Review

ObieSUCC Gives Students Comedy Education

Sumner Wallace
Stand-up comedians performed at the ’Sco last Friday.

The Oberlin Stand Up Comedy Coalition, better known as ObieSUCC, put on their third ChicagOberlin show last Friday, Dec. 1. Students headed to the ’Sco to laugh with talented, up-and-coming Chicago comedians, as well as student performers trying their hand at stand-up. 

ChicagOberlin was created by College fourth-year Hannah Belmont, ObieSUCC’s founder and an accomplished comic who opened for Mekki Leeper at the ’Sco last April. She explained that one of her goals for bringing comics from out-of-state to Oberlin was to provide students with comedy they could relate to.

“Cleveland comedy is great, and I loved having Cleveland comics here, but I saw that students weren’t really responding to that as much,” Belmont said. “A lot of Cleveland comedy is a lot of older, straight men. I wanted more diversity, and Chicago seemed like the perfect area to find that.”

All of the comics who performed are under the age of 23 and brought unique perspectives to the show according to Belmont. Cincinnati native Kieron Harrell headlined the show, preceded by comics Lucy Ferrante, Zach Liss, AJ Leidig, and Tommy Koch, as well as two student performers, College second-years Reed Wang and Kai Hansen. 

One of Belmont’s other goals for bringing Chicago comics to Oberlin was to show students what comedy looks like outside of Ohio.

“When Chicago comics come through, the Oberlin comics can network and meet them and … [it] kind of gives them something to strive for once they do graduate and move into the real world, if they do choose to pursue comedy,” Belmont said.

Hansen is an Oberlin comic who wants to pursue comedy in the future. Although he’s new on the scene, he’s already started to dedicate himself to the craft.

“I had nothing to do on a Thursday night and my friend suggested I sign up for one of the Feve open mics,” Hansen wrote in an email to the Review. “The set went well at [Parents and Family Weekend], so I decided I was pretty good at it and should do it more often. … I’ve only been doing comedy in general for about three weeks, so being on the set list with paid gig professionals was crazy.”

ObieSUCC got its start in May 2022 after one of Belmont’s friends, comedian Chris Trani, suggested she start a club to practice stand-up while at school. She wasn’t sure if students would be interested, but she had noticed a stand-up comedy desert in Oberlin and decided to shoot her shot.

“The only stand-up we had was Shit Pit, which was like, maybe once a month, once every two months, if that,” Belmont said. “I saw there was comedy, but there was a lack of stand-up comedy.”

To Belmont’s surprise, a lot of students expressed enthusiasm about ObieSUCC, and since then Belmont has been teaching club members the ins and outs of the comedy business, even as she is learning them herself. 

Harrell, the show’s headliner and one of Belmont’s close friends, has been very impressed with her work.

“I hold Hannah, especially after this weekend, to a very high regard,” Harrell said. “I think that [ObieSUCC] is God’s work.”

He went on to emphasize how rare it is that comedy knowledge gets passed down the way it does in ObieSUCC.

“Usually you pay for classes like this,” Harrell said. “You meet somebody who took, like, creative writing in college and then never did anything with the craft, and then they’re teaching you how to be [a comedian]. It makes no sense. And Hannah is being a successful comedian and then teaching other people things that she’s actively doing and actively learning. And so it just sounds, like, insanely vital.”

Belmont may be leading the comedy education charge, but she wanted the ObieSUCC students to learn from Harrell and the other comedians, as well. 

“[Hannah] was like, ‘You’re very good at putting your person, like who you are as a person, on stage … and that’s something that I try to get the ObieSUCC students to learn,’” Harrell said. “She was like, ‘You find a way to relate to the crowd early, early on.’”

Harrell related to the crowd at this ChicagOberlin show by bringing a copy of the Review on stage. He referenced an article from last week’s issue, “In Increasingly Separate World, Spotify Wrapped Connects Us,” asking crowd members about their top Spotify artists.

“A lot of times when comics go into other people’s spaces, they’re like, ‘Yeah, this is all about me,’” Harrell said. “And I’m like, ‘No, this is about us.’ I want us to have an energy exchange. I mean, that’s the fun part of comedy most of the time.”

For those who missed the ChicagOberlin show this semester, there will be another one next semester on March 15. 

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