By JASON FARRAR
Special to the OBSERVER
Kristen Becker may be headed for the big time but first she's stopping off in Fredonia. On Monday, starting at 9 p.m., BJ's in downtown Fredonia will play host to Becker and many others for a night of stand-up comedy. This once-a-month show features a range of comics from working professionals to first-timers.
Becker began her career in Toronto and has since taken her comedy all across the United States. She has opened for several big names including Doug Stanhope and Judah Friedlander of NBC's "30 Rock." Recently, she recorded her first comedy CD at Nietzsche's in the heart of the Allentown district in Buffalo. Becker is hoping to release the album before Christmas through her website (kristenbecker.com) and iTunes.
"The whole thing came together after I realized I was 10 years in and had no actual record of my jokes. Now that I have it down somewhere, hopefully it will force me to write new material at a record pace," Becker said.
She is definitely anxious to see what doors the album will open for her.
"I am hoping that this CD will help me utilize the 'audio movement,'" Becker said. "I don't know if that is a real thing, but that's what I'm calling the upswing of podcasts/iTunes/satellite radio. I like people being able to just download my stuff for a few bucks and spread it around."
Another performer who will be featured that night is SUNY Fredonia acting major Sean Marciniak. Although he's not entirely new to stand-up, this will be his first time performing since his high school days.
"I've been in love with stand up since third grade," Marciniak said. "When I came to college I focused on acting and realized this summer that I missed stand-up so I spent the summer polishing and writing material."
Any new or out of practice performer knows that getting on stage and performing can be a very difficult task.
"I'm more nervous than I'd like to admit; it's been a very long time since I've performed and back then I was just some high school punk who didn't have direction onstage. I'm hoping I've learned a thing or two," Marciniak said.
Mike Magoo, a second year Fredonia graduate student with a focus in music composition, is the "brainchild" behind BJ's comedy night. A native of the Buffalo area, he grew up watching stand-up around the city.
"I thought it was the greatest thing ever. Stand-up comedy is one of the purest forms of entertainment. Everyone has their own personal story, sharing their experiences ... it's such a raw, organic form of art."
Excitement is mounting for Magoo as Monday quickly approaches, "So far we've had nothing but consistently great shows, and I mean it. Every month has been a better show."
That's not to say it didn't get off to a shaky start though. Magoo said, "At first it was tough getting amateurs to go up and do a set. Nowadays, it's not so much a problem ... we've got quite a few regulars that consistently do a great job but it took a couple months to get there."
Some promising acts are already being booked for comedy nights in the coming months.
Magoo adds, "Greg Bauch, the producer for WGR 550 in Buffalo, has just been confirmed for Monday, Oct. 3. If you are a sports fan, or a Buffalo fan, this is a show you should not miss!"
Admission is free for those 21 and over, with a small cover fee for the under 21 crowd (it is in a bar, after all).
Jason Farrar is a journalism major at SUNY Fredonia who in his spare time, performs stand-up comedy in the Buffalo and Rochester areas. Send comments on this story to firstname.lastname@example.org