Dan Simmons Comedy Club of Higher Learning

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Many members of the Dan Simmoms Comedy Club of Higher Learning are also part of Muir College’s improv troupe FOOSH, so the two groups occasionally collaborate in stand-up routines.

In case you were deceived by its loft title, the illustrious Dan Simmons Comedy Club of Higher Learning only promises to reach its members one thing: how to be funny.

That is, high-class stand-up funny, courtesy of the legendary Dan Simmons himself.

Never heard of him? Simmons, as it turns out, is a Sixth College senior whose talent is somewhat hereditary. From an early age, Simmons said, he’s been surrounded by professionals.

“My dad is a stand-up comedian doing comedy in Hollywood,” he said. “My dad’s always been my mentor — and so I thought that I could do it, found that it was a lot of fun and continued.”

Just don’t call him narcissistic: The club’s moniker wasn’t originally his idea.

“I wanted to name it the Stand-Up Comedy Club, but my friend said, ‘Come on, make it something memorable,” Simmons said. “So it just became the Dan Simmons Comedy Club of Higher Learning. We joke that it’s not professional, but the idea is not to make it serious, but to make it fun. The name is keeping with that spirit.”

Simmons learned early on that comedy is easier watched than performed — once he realized how frustrating it could be to develop a feel for what different audiences find funny — he went on to develop a space where amateurs like himself could practice and improve.

“There’s really no formal experience in stand-up, it’s learn as you go,” he said.

That’s why the club goes for a hands-on approach. During meetings, various members — many of whom are also part of Muir College improv troupe FOOSH — perform skits and improv games while others watch and offer detailed and constructive feedback.

“Standup comedy is precarious,” Simmons said. “You can say one word wrong [look] like a fool, and your entire routine is ruined. When amateur comedians do [routines], usually nobody laughs, and then you don’t know what you did right or wrong.”

According to Simmons, no previous experience is necessary to join the club, and it welcomes comedy lovers at all different levels — even those uninterested in getting onstage.

“We have people that don’t want to perform; they just come to laugh,” Simmons said.

The Dan Simmons Comedy Club of Higher Learning meets Tuesdays at 7:30 p.m. in Center 217.

The club will be hosting an open-mic performance on Thursday, Jan. 21 from 7:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. at Porter’s Pub in the Student Center.

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