As night descends, comedians present jokes in a parking lot about fatherless children and the weirdness of babies.
“The hardest part about being raised by a single mom is having to keep away guys that keep hitting on her. Usually I just call them Dad and they go away,” joked comedian Richie Rosales.
Twice a month, comedians perform stand-up comedy for 15 minutes each in the lower level of Parking Structure 7 in front of Pauley Pavilion, as part of an event hosted by Roadkill Comedy Show. Roadkill Comedy is created and hosted by Nathan Mosher, a third-year English student, and third-year computer science student Austin Nasso. Their next show is Friday.
Mosher said there are two types of comedy: The first is club comedy, consisting of a traditional stage in front of an audience in either a formal or casual setting.
The second is alternative comedy, the type Roadkill Comedy hosts, in which the location is someplace out of the ordinary, like a comic book store, a library or in this case, a parking lot.
Nasso said Roadkill Comedy is the only alternative comedy on campus. Mosher and Nasso also founded and currently run Shenanigans Comedy Club and work with the other two campus clubs: Rapid Fire Improv and Lapu, the Coyote that Cares Theatre Company. However, these clubs only offer the traditional club comedy settings and are lacking in audiences, Mosher and Nasso said.
“I want to be an actual name in comedy, the go-to guy on campus,” Nasso said. “We are nurturing the comedy scene at UCLA by offering it a new audience.”
Mosher chose a parking lot to host his show because he was inspired by watching dance teams practicing in the parking lots. The lot also offered a new opportunity to draw in spectators, he said.
“We figured that if we have a show literally in front of where people are walking by, it could not be more accessible,” Mosher said. “Shows at clubs don’t have a guarantee of an audience, but out here we are literally drawing in (passersby).”
The parking location also freed Roadkill Comedy from the regulations on campus, Mosher said. The comedy group has been trying to book performances at venues such as Kerckhoff Coffee House, but Mosher said red tape at UCLA prevented their requests from being heard.
“We don’t need to appeal to a higher power for this – it’s just us, a mic and an amp based on a real amp,” Mosher said.
Roadkill Comedy’s second show on Oct. 27 featured comedians that have performed with Nasso and Mosher at the Improv Space, a stand-up open mic in Westwood, such as Richie Rosales and Mike Menendez. Los Angeles comedians Fabian Gonzales, Ben Brandon and Steve Lee are all friends of Mosher. Finally, the pair recruited Asif Ali, who plays Samir on NBC’s “Mr. Robinson,” after meeting him outside a Hollywood improv club.
“Out-of-the-box settings force me to think and perform out of the box,” Gonzales said.
Rosales said a setting like the parking structure is more prone to have members that haven’t been exposed to comedy, which keeps the energy up.
“Shows like this keep you on your feet as a performer,” he said. “You’re constantly barking at people to stay for the show and even have to go one-on-one with some audience members to keep them from leaving.”
The viewers consisted of passersby, like second-year undeclared student Jeanette Gonzales, who was drawn into the show by the heckling of the comedians. She said the setup offered a new perspective into comedy.
“I didn’t think much of it when I sat down, but I was left laughing,” Jeanette Gonzales said.
Roadkill Comedy’s upcoming show will feature a new round of seven comics, whom they met at other comedy shows, delivering 15 minutes of prepared bits in the parking lot at night, including professional Los Angeles comedian Quincy Jones.
An accessible venue and casual audience motivated Mosher and Nasso to start Roadkill Comedy Show, but Mosher said he hopes the group will help foster a large comedy culture at UCLA.
“I am the comedy god of UCLA,” Mosher said. “I want to have my hand in everything comedy at UCLA.”