Budding Comedy Community Begins to Grow at Pace, But Not Without its Problems

For the past decade, Pace University’s reputation for performing arts has become one of the most prestigious in the country. Their support and encouragement for the arts only continues to grow. The Hollywood Reporter ranked Pace University the 25th best performing arts school in the country. There is one artistic community however, that is only beginning to form at the University — it’s comedy community.

Less than three years ago, the best bet for an aspiring comic at Pace University would have been to take some creative writing classes, and go explore the competitive New York comedy scene outside of school. Today, options are slowly but steadily growing. In 2015, Pace Sketch Comedy Group was created. The group puts on two full length SNL-style sketch shows per semester, with the goal of being an inclusive group where anyone can come to flex their creative muscles.

As a comedy community slowly begins to form however, student comics are challenged to find their place at a performing arts school. Should comedy be treated like any other art at this school? Maggie Carrucci, e-board member for PSCG, thinks so. Carrucci works directly with the school to obtain resources for the club. “Because our sketch group isn’t affiliated with Pace Performing Arts, it’s nearly impossible for us to get rehearsal or performance space. Not that PaceBoard or PPA shows are bad, but if SDACA was truly treating us equally, getting event spaces wouldn’t be as difficult and budget planning wouldn’t be as hard.”

Many members of the community feel that this form of art seems to be pushed aside by the school. “I think the comedy community at Pace is great, although it’s pretty divided between people who study performing arts, and people who study other things. A lot of English, Film and Communications majors are part of this community too, which makes things more complicated than other performance groups on campus.” said Sarah Baker, writer for PSCG and member of the on campus all-female improv troupe Women and Gender Studies.

Following the creation of this club, came Women & Gender Studies (WAGS), as well as the on-campus improv troupe Yes Anderson. In addition to these groups, Pace has more and more students independently making names for themselves around the city as young stand-up comics. A large portion of independent comics at Pace are those who became frustrated with the restricted community. New York comic Griffy Cohen said of comedy at Pace “Due to no other comedic opportunities at Pace, I was forced to go do comedy myself, without anyone’s approval besides my own…There needs to be better sketch comedy groups and a stand up comedy group run by people who allow everyone to participate…”

The main reason this community is struggling to really get off the ground, is inclusivity. Non performing arts students who pay the same amount for their education, feel entitled to find their creative voice at the school just as much as the PPA majors can. And with the existing small community, some seem to be taking issue with the way these clubs and troupes are run. As with all new communities on a campus, it may take them longer to find their place.

Others however, see potential in the communities ability to grow. “I’ve gotten to meet so many talented people. I also think starting with a college community is really important. Starting at the same level as your peers makes the connections you make even more valuable and unique” said Baker. “I’ve also been able to explore many different mediums and learn how creative.