Gather your wit, drop all pretenses of formality and prepare to succumb yourself to egregious laughter. The Comedy Closet is UCR’s first running organization to operate like a Comedy Club. The Comedy Closet is an inclusive space for fellow Highlanders to familiarize themselves with the art of comedy, practice their comedic timing and demonstrate their comedic prowess.

“Don’t expect much,” said Comedy Closet President Siah Salazar, who entered his first year at UC Riverside noticing the campus was lacking a place to refine his background in stand-up comedy. Being a freshman posed significant obstacles to start up the club, but capturing the opportunity, the Comedy Closet has been recognized as an on-campus organization running meetings every Thursday at Boyce Hall 1471 since November 2021.

The name Comedy Closet, coined by first-year secretary Citlali Gomez, is a play on the phrase “Coming out of the closet.” Aside from giving the club a light-hearted feel, it represents an overlooked truth that comedy is for everybody and that everyone has the potential to hone the craft. The organization conducts comedy workshops during meetings with a couple main focuses: Stand-up Comedy and Improv.

Stand-up comedy is about precise writing, storytelling and holding the art of joke-writing to a T. In complete contrast, perhaps, improv is about winging it on the spot and letting your imagination out of its cage. Nonetheless, both realms are unique forms of self-expression that relay jovial messages to an audience that may or may not resonate with the performer’s consciousness.

“Comedy is a way of thinking and viewing the world. You have to be brave to put yourself out there and perform front and center on a stage.”

Towards the end of each quarter, the Comedy Closet hosts a showcase to feature club members, eager to display their acts cultivated over the quarter. Each performer is granted a 5-minute slot within a 2 hour show period. In addition, the organization invites out local Riverside comics to attend, perform, and give talking points. Last winter’s showcase saw the attendance of Dick Salas and Corey Baldwin.

President Siah Salazar holds great pride in how the organization has progressed. His favorite aspect is being able to watch those who’ve never attempted it before, be good at it. There is a special feeling of bringing a crowd together and sharing laughter drawn by each member’s individual wisdom. Over 40 people were in attendance in last quarter’s showcase.

The Comedy Closet’s is hosting an open mic at the Getaway Cafe next Thursday, April 7 at 8:00pm.