Event entertains with comedy and cacti

Emerson Mane Events hosts EME-Palooza

by Carl Lavigne / Beacon Staff • September 19, 2013

Guy Branum said he has some secrets he likes to share. Like how Ashton Kutcher had no idea what a factory farm was, but thought they’d be great job creators, or where Natalie Portman lost her virginity: Pratt University, he said.

Branum, the California-born comedian, was the star of the inaugural Emerson Mane Events Palooza on Thursday, Sept. 12. Branum asked audience members about their political views and sexual orientations, and joked about how progressive Emerson College is.

“[The event was] really up-close and personal,” said Sam Crichton, a freshman visual and media arts major in attendance.

The doors to the Multipurpose Room opened a little before eight, and Branum drew an audience that almost filled the space.

“Guy is barely a name. The only way my parents could’ve been lazier is if they named me ‘hey, dude,’” was Branum’s opening line.

Branum, who writes for TV and is openly gay, had the audience laughing right away.  He invited one spectator to tell him whether or not he crossed the line at any point during the show. He was more than explicit all night, and no one once called foul.

“It was very personal comedy,” said Liz Peterson, a freshman visual and media arts major. Branum heckled her on several occasions for texting.

Branum fielded questions at the end of the show. People asked Branum, who wrote for the shows “X-Play” and “Unscrewed with Martin Sargent,” about his experience in the television industry and as a comedian.  

“No one can take this from me,” he said about his career in stand-up.

He applauded the performers and artists in the audience for their decision to pursue their dreams. Branum, who said he graduated from UC Berkeley with a degree in English and History, and from the University of Minnesota Law School with a JD, said that he wished he’d been at an inspirational place like Emerson to learn and grow up. He encouraged students to apply for internship positions with the show he’s currently working on “Totally Biased” on FXX.

Branum’s visit, and all of EME-Palooza, was the product of two Emerson Mane Event staff: juniors Gina Palmeri, a visual and media arts major, and Jamie Alberici, an IDIP major.

Palmeri said that watching people unite after the Boston Marathon bombings inspired her and Alberici to create an event where the Emerson community could come together. She said they wanted to see people bond over something other than tragedy.

Palmeri and Alberici said they pitched their idea to Jason Meier, EME’s primary advisor, and spent the summer planning the event over Facebook and email.  They wanted to bring people together before the semester got too busy. They also said that EME-Palooza was an opportunity for EME to showcase what it does and attract new members.

Students milled around Piano Row’s first floor, sampling smoothies and eating pizza, while they waited in line for full-color caricatures and a cactus decorating room. Fun Enterprises provided the caricature artists and cacti.

“This is great. I now have a cactus friend I can talk to instead of my roommate,” said David Carliner, a freshman writing, literature, and publishing major.

A stream of Instagram photos featured students’ new cacti friends. Branum called out a couple of people in the audience for using their phones during his performance, but it turned out many of them were tweeting about him.  

Alberici said EME hopes to have a similar event at the end of the spring semester to relieve some of the stress of finals week and bring people together one last time before summer break.