Football players warm up the stage for headliner Taylor Tomlinson at Outlaw Comedy's annual show, ASU 1st laugh

After concerts, mixers and club activities tucked freshmen into their new school throughout ASU’s event-filled Fall Welcome Week, students gathered in Wells Fargo Arena Sunday evening to end it all with resounding laughter for the annual comedy show, ASU 1st Laugh.

The event is put on every year by Outlaw Comedy, a club on campus that focuses on jokes and community service, according to club president and psychology junior Ethan Cuthbertson.

“The point of ASU 1st Laugh is that we want students to get connected to ASU through comedy,” he said. “Students can come, bring their friends that they just met during Welcome Week and have a blast laughing together.”

ASU 1st Laugh was not merely a single-act comedy show—it included a barbecue, guest appearances and three comedians. The multiple facets of the event embodied the mission of Outlaw Comedy founder Brian Smith, who spoke to the audience early in the show.

“Outlaw Comedy is here to give you a new hope and outlook; to give you a new idea of what is possible as you laugh and have a good time,” Smith said. ‘We hope that you connect with people around you and on our campus and have a great time.”

After the barbecues, students made the trek to Wells Fargo Arena and were greeted first by several players from the Sun Devil Football team, one of them being quarterback Mike Bercovici.

Bercovici emphasized the unity of the Sun Devil family with a rousing speech that was inclusive to all.

“We may be bigger and faster than the average freshman, but we’re one of you guys,” he said. 

The players encouraged students to not only come support the football team, but to reach out to the players when they saw them on campus. Then, they gave freshmen a small taste of what games would be like by leading the crowd in a cheer, which livened the atmosphere and set the stage for what was to come.

Three of the football players later returned to the stage with comedian Bone Hampton to help him perform the “Whip/Nae-Nae” as his opening act. As the players danced, members from the audience stood up and danced with them, establishing the interactive atmosphere of the night. 

Following Hampton was CJ Harlow, dressed in plaid and armed with jokes that included local references and every Sun Devil’s favorite—jokes about the University of Arizona.

But all of the action and laughter was only a precursor to the main act, Taylor Tomlinson.

The female comedian was the favorite for many in the audience, especially finance freshman Montana Rich.

“Taylor Tomlinson reminded me a lot of Amy Schumer, and I really liked her sense of humor,” Rich said.

Tomlinson’s content spanned from troubles with her roommate to the engaged couple in the audience, adding an interactive flair which proved to be entertaining for those in the audience and herself.

“My favorite part was getting to talk to people (and) I loved that people were responding,” Tomlinson said. “People were really engaged and responsive and those are the best moments in my opinion—just off the fly ones.”

Correction: An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that a comedian performing on this show was named CJ Hamilton.  His name is CJ Harlow.  A correction has been made.  

Related Links:

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Ben Kaufman: 'Some College Punk' gears up for live comedy album

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