Shazeb Fahim, ’20, learned that he would perform as an opening act for “Saturday Night Live” writer Julio Torres 90 minutes before the University Productions stand-up comedy event Feb. 15 in Lamberton Hall.
Fahim, the first winner of Lehigh’s Got Talent, said he was honored to perform comedy on the same stage as Torres, a renowned SNL writer who performed a skit on the “The Tonight Show” last week.
“I am such a fan of Julio’s work — his stand up work and his sketch work — on ‘SNL’ for the past few seasons,” Fahim said.
Lorelei Ramirez, a stand-up performer from Miami, followed Fahim’s skit. After the opening acts, Torres performed for more than an hour.
Fahim said Torres’ comedy style encouraged audience engagement and interaction.
“Being able to laugh with my friends was really great,” Angie Rizzo, ’19, said. She said she decided to come after finding out that Torres was a writer for ‘SNL’.
The event was free for all Lehigh students and also featured a food and drinks buffet. The room was set up with round tables to encourage conversation and interaction.
Sid Bapat, ’21, said the venue was comfortable, but some people had to bring in chairs from outside. Fahim said he liked the environment the round tables created.
Bapat found the show amusing because the comedy in his native country, India, is different than comedy in the United States.
“The comedy back home is focused more on the aggressive topics and the language,” Bapat said. He said he thinks American comedy is instead intended to feel relatable to the audience.
Bapat said he frequently attends trivia nights and other Lehigh After Dark events because he finds them to be a good way to socialize.
Torres’ performance was hosted and planned by the comedy branch of University Productions.
Many who attended the event found out about it through a flyer that had been circulating campus.
“I hadn’t heard about (the show) except for flyers at Upper (Cort), so I wish there would have been more advertising.” Rizzo said.
Fahim, who frequently collaborates with UP and helps the group advertise, said he thinks UP should start marketing for events earlier to create more awareness in the future, including on social media platforms.
Overall, Fahim said he was happy with the crowd in attendance and called the event a success. He plans to put on his own show doing new stand-up material later this semester.