By RYAN MARR
The student body here at Mary Washington rarely suffers from a lack of humor thanks to the efforts of one of our resident student-comics, Watt Smith.
Smith, a 2 1/2 year veteran of the comedy circuit in the Washington D.C. and Richmond area, recently displayed his comedic talents on Feb.1. He opened for comedian Baron Vaughn as a part of Giant Production’s First Annual Amateur Comedy Competition.
Battling a hacking cough, Watt kept the crowd laughing throughout his 15 minute set, even cleverly incorporating an ill-timed cough into his routine. In addition to not feeling well, the performance was Smith’s first in several months.
Despite a gut-busting set accented by frequent fits of laughter from the audience, Smith felt less than confidant about his routine.
“I hadn’t been onstage in months,” he said, “I felt a little rusty.”
And it wasn’t just the packed audience in the Great Hall or the standout comics following him that had Smith on edge.
Performing in front of his friends and peers heightens Smith’s sense of self-consciousness in a different way then when he is entertaining crowds at various venues, such as The Funnybone in Richmond.
On top of that, the show was being filmed as an audition of sorts for entry to a Washington D.C. comedy festival.
With the threat of public humiliation always one verbal misstep away, he has to remind himself why he constantly puts his dignity on the line.
“It’s a way that I can express the world as I see it through laughter,” Smith would retort. “It’s the only thing I’ve ever really liked doing.”
Smith got into stand-up back in high school when he decided to take his act from his lunch table of friends to the stage.
From there, he has spread his brand of humor to colleges across Virginia, and recently traveled to Washington and Lee and William and Mary. Smith even recruited his friend Remington Rand to assume the duties of a manager in return for 15 percent of all his profits.
He has compiled a DVD of various performances that is currently being shipped out to different venues in hopes that more shows will follow.
Smith would like to one day transform his comedic talents into a professional career, particularly one that can support him financially.
“I really want to be making $30,000 a year by the time I graduate, you know, move to LA,” he added.
Influenced by quite the diverse palate of comedians, namely D.L. Hughley and Brian Regan, Smith also draws his influences from literature and one of America’s first comedians, Mark Twain.
With this unique blend of comedy separating him from the competition, Smith is confidant he has a shot at Giant’s grand prize of $300 awarded to Mary Washington’s funniest comic.
With two more collegiate comedians opening for big name comics Nick Thune and Shane Mauss on March 27 and April 3, and finals being held April 10, there is still plenty of time to catch a few laughs on campus.