Stand-up comedy is usually not what comes to mind when picturing a graduate from a liberal arts university. Many would describe the deadbeat hipster who is more proud of their barista job than they should be, but try telling that to STU alumni Andrew Vaughan and Megan MacKay.
Vaughan, who graduated from STU in 2007, will be returning to Fredericton this Saturday to perform his first headlining stand-up show at The Wilser’s Room.
“I wouldn’t have it any other way,” said Vaughan.“I’m more than excited to be doing this in a city that means a lot to me. The people who run the shows in Fredericton are amazing and the crowds are just awesome. I love Fredericton. I really miss it and it feels great to be coming back.”
Growing up, Vaughan always had a love for comedy, but performing was never more than an entry on his bucket list. That is, until he watched NBC’s reality TV stand-up competition Last Comic Standing.
“There were contestants on that show that were some of the most unfunny people I’ve ever seen in my life,” said Vaughan.
“I figured I would at least be better than the worst contestants auditioning on that show, so I started writing and performing material and haven’t stopped since.”
Unfortunately, not everyone can take inspiration from the blunders of the unfunny, and that’s where the Fredericton United Comic Collective comes in. The FUCC (sound it out) is an independent group of stand-up comedians based in Fredericton who have been performing and promoting stand-up for the past few years.
Megan MacKay was a member of the FUCC before moving to Halifax.
“We travelled around the Maritimes together doing shows in weird rooms, mostly thanks to Trevor [Muxworthy],” said MacKay.
“Trev’s really good at organizing, and has basically built the Fredericton comedy scene from the ground up. Last summer [Jess Williams] took off to Toronto, I moved to Halifax, and the crew morphed into something interesting and encouraging. They’ve been importing top comics from all over the country, while still trying unique and fun things on their own.”
Fredericton is beginning to look like a prime city to jumpstart a stand-up comedy career. In this university town, can you learn stand-up comedy in classroom?
“There are many aspects of stand-up besides just going up on stage and being funny. There is rhythm, timing, technique, and all of the fluffy hustling behind the scenes stuff. People go to school to learn the business side of it just as much as they go to learn how to perform. You’re not learning stand-up, you’re learning how to be a stand-up. It’s like attending NBCCD, but instead of making pottery you make fart jokes.”
Self-taught Vaughan has been doing stand-up for the past three years and has travelled across the Maritimes. Since moving to Halifax after graduation, he has been performing and emceeing at weekend shows at the city’s Yuk Yuk’s venue and has hosted their amateur nights.
One thing that Fredericton still has over Halifax, in Vaughan’s case, are the stories. “I have this one joke in my set about how I lost my virginity in university,” said Vaughan.
“During one of my performances I realized halfway through that the girl I hooked up with was actually in the crowd. That means 50 per cent of the people I had slept with were there. Those are some pretty good odds.”
The show is Sept. 28 at the Wilser’s Room, 9 p.m. Cover is $7