Joking aroudn: campus' own stand up comedian

When Nick Kuyat was in kindergarten, his teacher asked the kids to cut a picture from a magazine of what they wanted to do when they grew up. While most of his peers were cutting out police and firefighters, Kuyat took it literally and clipped out an old man sitting in a rocking chair.
Kuyat, now 21, is a student at SCC and a stand-up comedian in Seattle after he moved from Danville, California four years ago. He has performed stand-up comedy at about 20 comedy clubs and restaurants in the past five years
On a recent Sunday, Kuyat performed at Jai Thai, a restaurant in Seattle’s Capitol Hill neighborhood which regularly hosts open-mic comedy shows.
“All pants are sweatpants when they’re nervous,” he said while standing under a pool of bright yellow light, wearing his finest dark blue shirt. Smiling, he held the mic stand with his left hand as his body gently swayed.
“Franklin Delano Roosevelt was disabled AND president,” Kuyat said. “He must've had THE BEST parking spot!"
Kuyat looked at the reaction of the audience, and it didn’t take them long to get the joke. The corner of Kuyat’s mouth curved up. And after all the laughter subsided, the only sound was the audience’s breath as they were all anxious to see what he would do next. Of all the comedians to perform that night, Kuyat received the most laughs from the audience.
Kuyat specializes in doing one-liners, which are jokes delivered in one or two sentences.
“The way I go at it,” he said, “it would be something like, ‘This morning I cut open a mountain lion and I found my keys… It's always in the last place you'd look.’”
He likes turning life comedies into quick jokes, unlike many other comedians who can go on for five minutes about a single event.
“Everybody has lost their key at least once and I could talk about it for a while,” Kuyat said. But instead, he prefers to keep his jokes “short and weird.”
“Which is kind of funny, because I am weird and tall,” he said with a laugh.
Kuyat believes keeping the jokes short and weird can be a lot more challenging than telling longer stories.
“They go so fast, so you have to write more of them,” he said. “With the story, it’s only about one kind of idea, whereas I have to keep thinking of a new idea for every joke, so I have to write probably twice as much as other comedians.”
You would think comedians would be happy, optimistic people since they seem to constantly make fun of life and themselves. However, Kuyat explains that the opposite is often true - he got into comedy because of the social difficulties he faced as a teenager.
“I would say I had a rough time at school and sadly, (unhappy experiences are) where comedies come from,” Kuyat said.
“Even famous comedians like Steve Martin, he had a lot of issues with his dad,” Kuyat continued. “His dad basically never really expressed love to he kind of got into comedy to fill that void and (receive the) attention he needed. My parents were fine, but lots of people go in for reasons like that. ”
Kuyat considers himself an old soul and he felt that made him a bit out of tune with his classmates. However, when comedy came into his life, he became more confident and found a way to socialize with people his age.
“It gave me a fun thing in common with them,” Kuyat said. “I like making people laugh and kind of being silly. And especially in school, it is easy to connect with people by making fun of something together. I think (doing comedy) gives me a way to be more comfortable with being social.’’
Today, he seems to have no trouble socializing with others. About two weeks ago, Kuyat was on the bus talking to someone about British accents and making British impressions when a 16-year-old student from Shenzhen joined the conversation from a seat behind him and said, “That does sound like British.”
“Yeah! Right? ” Kuyat said.
The Chinese student later introduced himself and offered him a handshake. Without hesitation, Kuyat took the handshake and introduced himself right away.
After Kuyat got off the bus, he kept smiling. “Huh, making new friends on the bus, that’s interesting,” he said with a laugh.
“Comedy surely turned him into a different, expansive person.” Ashley Rimbakusumo said. She’s a former SCC student who went to high school with Nick and said she now thinks of Nick as an “interesting character.”
“He has a good sense of humor.” Rimbakusumo said. “Oftentimes I'll be scrolling through my Facebook News Feed, and I'll find a status update of his where he makes a joke of some sort and I'll find myself chuckling for a bit as I continue scrolling.”
Comedy has become a major part of Kuyat’s life and he now pays extra attention to everything around him, such as advertisements or life events, in search of things to make fun of. However, he doesn’t see himself pursuing stand-up comedy for a living.
“It should be (something) just a hobby for me.” Kuyat said. “I guess there are still some people who go after comedy and they succeed, but I don’t think I have the confidence or the crazy youthful energy to say I’m gonna take that risk, to think I’m one of those few people who are special enough to be famous at it… I don’t see that for me.”
He thinks doing comedy as a job would make it hard for him to support himself. Kuyat instead sees himself doing something tech-related in the future. “I‘ve always thought it would be cool to have my own business of some kind,” he said. “And that kind of goes hand in hand with programming pretty easily. You have to have a website these days, you gotta be online and have your own kind of phone app or whatever.”
Kuyat is also seriously considering being a lawyer. “I’m taking my first law class next quarter. Which is actually funny, because I’m Jewish, and I do comedy, and I’m interested in politics and law, so apparently I am all about bringing stereotypes to life,” he said.
Still, he doesn’t think he will ever stop writing.
“If you go on my Twitter or something like that,” he said. “I am always trying to post jokes on the internet and I probably will always keep writing and sharing it that way.”

_Calvin Li

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