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WWU’s open mic comedy showcase

Comics and non-comics alike perform stand-up for the less funny students at WWU

Johnny Cross (left) and Claire Wilkerson (right) performing in a Comedians of Western open mic at the Underground Coffee House on March 1, 2023. “ Doing stand-up gives you a lot of confidence,” Cross said.  // Photo courtesy of Aidan Klein

Comedians of Western hosts an open mic night every other Thursday in the Underground Coffee House from 7-8 p.m.

“As an audience member, they’re really funny” said Nichole Peters, AS Productions production assistant.

COW is a stand-up comedian group at Western Washington University that works every week, either in workshops or performances, to improve their stand-up comedy skills and workshop jokes together, according to Western Involvement Network.

“We open it up to [anyone] who’s got jokes,” said Johnny Cross, COW’s manager, about how the workshops operate. “We just go through, they'll go down the list and everyone tries out the material. If they want to get feedback, they can get feedback.”

COW workshops happen every other Thursday, with the next workshop happening on March 14, at 6 p.m. in Bond hall room 104, Cross said. 

“One thing I wanted to do is make it as welcoming, comforting and warm as I could,” said Sadie Ikemeier, president of COW. 

One goal of COW this year that Cross and Ikemeier wanted to work toward was creating a welcoming environment for anyone wanting to try out stand-up for the first time, said Ikemeier.

“Stand-up is an intensely, vulnerable, scary experience,” Cross said. “ I feel like this environment is probably the safest and most comfortable you'll ever be.”

On average, one of COW’s performances features about 15 comics, each with a time slot of five minutes, Ikemeier said. Most of the comics are recurring acts, but most nights there will be two to three people trying out stand-up for the first time. 

“It's kind of like leaving yourself and having another experience of yourself,” said Claire Wilkerson, a comic of COW and head writer at ‘Repeating Gossip’, a sketch comedy show in Bellingham. “I am afraid to do extreme sports, bungee jumping, rock climbing and skydiving. It's that same kind of adrenaline rush of flying by the seat of your pants.”

COW currently only does stand-up, but several members of the club work in sketch comedy as well.

Jackson Graham, COW member and founder of ‘Repeating Gossip’, spoke about their upcoming Repeating Gossip show on March 7. “We had goats, we're gonna have cars and presidential candidates,” Graham said. 

Sketch comedy is short comedic scenes or vignettes, commonly referred to as a ‘comedy sketch,’ usually between one to 10 minutes long, according to Studio Binder, a film production software.

“I would like to encourage people who are interested in writing comedy to try it out,” Wilkerson said. “COW is a very supportive space, I have nothing but good things to say about them and my experience.”

COW’s shows are free and open to any Western student to come and have fun, according to Ikemeier.

“If you're into comedy, just do it,” Ikemeier said. “Even if you have one joke, perform it. The more you perform, the less you're gonna be scared of it.”

The club’s next show is Thursday, March 7 at 7 p.m. at the Underground Coffee House. To perform in the show, a sign-up sheet is put out at 6:30 p.m. and is open to comics and non-comics wanting to work on their stand-up.

“Come to the show,” Cross said. “Check it out, it's a fun time. We're gonna try to do a lot of different stuff that isn't just open mics this year, so look forward to that.”

Courtney Sipila

Courtney Sipila (she/her) is a campus life reporter for The Front this quarter. She is a second-year visual journalism/marketing major. Outside of reporting on the people of Western, Courtney enjoys playing soccer, video games, and watching movies. You can reach her at

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