Dozens of students and community members gathered at Collins Living-Learning Center on Tuesday for the second Pride Comedy Festival, a comedy night to encourage positive views of the GLBTQ community.
Created by senior Shaily Hakimian, this event provides people with an environment in which people are free to say anything they feel.
Part of Hakimian’s promotion read: “Anyone and everyone is welcome to be a part of the show, whether it’s telling a joke or announcing to the world that you are single and hoping to mingle.”
This event was established this year, as Hakimian also organized this event last semester.
Hakimian said her passions for comedy and GLBTQ community influenced her to create this event.
“I’m a huge fan of comedy,” Hakimian said. “I find it an escape from reality when I get to sit and laugh.”
After a “bad experience” that left her disheartened, Hakimian said she went to a comedy show for some relief.
“It took my mind off of everything that was going wrong,” Hakimian said. “It made me escape from reality, and I realized how important comedy was to me at that point.”
Hakimian said she has been working with multiple GLBTQ-friendly organizations and services for eight years.
“I’m also a huge advocate for LGBTQ-related issues,” Hakimian said. “So to me, combining my two passions into one event was a no-brainer because I don’t know anybody else who’s just as passionate about both as I am.”
This event was primarily organized in support of members of the GLBTQ community.
“Activism can happen through comedy,” Hakimian said. “I think it’s a lot easier to get people to support each other when they’re in a place of laughter and happiness as opposed to arguing and debating.”
The event featured multiple comedy acts including campus groups Full Frontal Comedy, Midnight Snack and Back Door Comedy. Joshua Murphy, winner of the Bloomington Comedy Festival, also performed with other standup
Though Murphy’s performance wasn’t entirely geared toward GLBTQ topics, Murphy did express his views on the LGBTQ community.
“I’ve never thought about it,” Murphy said. “I just have gay friends. Growing up in Bloomington, it really wasn’t a big deal to anyone. From my vantage point, they were always just people.”
The University Twits, one of IU’s sketch comedy groups, also performed. Senior Timmy Hickle spoke about the group’s involvement with the GLBT community.
“We’re a very gay-friendly group,” Hickle said. “We have tons of friends who are gay. We find that there’s humor in a lot of hot topics and one area that we actually really enjoy is to find humor in homophobia.”
In regards to the audience, Hickle said he hopes it realizes how society and acceptance of others are today.
“I really hope they walk away with the idea that being gay is very normal,” Hickle said. “I think that’s something that some people in our generation are having a problem with. They may want to support gay rights and view it like it’s this different kind of rights.
“At the end of the day, they’re just people. I really hope people walk away from this looking more along the lines of equal rights than LGBT rights.”
In addition to the comedic acts, the stage was open to several other organizations in order to promote their current events and endeavors.
Some audience members also talked about their experiences, including accidentally purchasing porn in Kazakhstan and attending the Chicago Annual Pride Parade.
“This comedy night is a great way for different organizations to plug in what they’re doing while having the audience completely entertained throughout,” Hakimian said.
With Hakimian’s graduation in May, she said she is looking for someone to continue this event within the coming semesters.
“If anyone wants to take this on as a project, it’s totally up for grabs,” Hakimian said. “They can make it however they want to make it. They can make it their