About six hundred students were sitting in McCrary Theatre Feb. 24, waiting to see "Saturday Night Live's" Colin Jost perform his stand-up comedy at Elon University. But many were laughing before he stepped on stage.
The crowd erupted into laugher when senior Rebecca Hurd added a little bit of a comedic spice as she opened for Jost with her own stand-up routine.
Hurd appealed to the audience by sharing some of her personal experiences and by telling stories Elon students can relate to.
“I knew what my crowd was going to be like. I knew it was going to be all Elon students, so a lot of my set was based on Elon things that people would recognize," Hurd said. "Most of the things I said have been things that have happened to me and it’s kind of in the way that I tell my friends: something happens to me, I go home and I tell my friends about it and they’re like, ‘That’s a good story.’ Then I write it down, I embellish it and I add things here and there. I think the truth is the funniest type of comedy.”
Hurd told the audience these experiences, but was nervous because she didn’t know how the audience would react to the routine. Luckily, there was some laughter after every joke cracked, and a loud applause when she left the stage.
“There’s certainly room for judgment in some of the things I was saying, so I hope that people were just laughing,” Hurd said.
She gave the audience some tips to ‘improve’ their time at Elon regarding topics like parties, late-night McEwen and Varsity among others. She also shared personal detail of her life, including stories like a weird encounter she had with her ex-boyfriend at Fat Frogg.
“Comedy has taught me how to be fearless, which is a great skill to have in life," Hurd said. "You kind of have to be fearless in this industry. You have to tell it like it is, not be bashful and try not to care what people are going to say, which is really hard and it’s something I’m not totally good at yet. But having a confidence and being like ‘you know what? I think this is funny, so I’m going to tell a crowd of people and hope they think it’s funny too.'"
Elon Student Union Board told Hurd that she could open for Jost one week before the show, so she had to put a stand up together in a short amount of time. Since Hurd always takes a mental or a physical note of funny things that happen to her on an everyday basis, she compiled the notes to make a quick routine.
“I have this journal full of comedic ideas and jokes, so luckily I had all these jokes or ideas already on my phone," Hurd said. "There’s not a set process. It’s basically whenever something happens to me that I think is worth telling other people about, I write it down. Pretty much all of my set was true to some extent, so I just try to take a mental note or a physical note of things that have happened to me, because I feel that’s the funniest thing to talk to people about.”
Hurd was excited to be opening for Jost because being an opening act has been on her bucket list for a while.
In 2013, Jay Pharoah, another comedian from SNL, came to Elon and a student opened for him with his own stand-up comedy. Once Hurd saw this, she decided that she wanted to open for the next comedian that performed.
She did just that.
“It wasn’t too hard to process because Elon is awesome and Elon SUB is awesome," Hurd said. "I kind of just asked, so I was like, ‘Hey could I do this?’ and they were like, ‘Yeah alright, we’ll ask his people,’ so they sent a video of my past stand-up to his people, they liked it, Colin Jost saw it himself actually and he thought I was funny too so they gave me the ‘OK’.”
To finalize her stand up, Hurd took a Snapchat video of herself with her audience. She asked everyone to cheer for Jost and give him a warm Elon welcome.
After graduating in the spring, Hurd is planning on moving to Chicago where she would like to get some comedy training, audition and get an agent.
“The dream one day would be to be in comedy films or to be on SNL,” Hurd said.
Correction: The original version of this story misquoted Hurd on several occasions — "competence" instead of "confidence," "in" instead of "on" were two. The Pendulum regrets the error.