If you’ve been on TikTok long enough, you might have seen comedian Ryan Kelly, known on TikTok as @youthpastorryan. If you’ve been at Truman long enough, you might have known his mom.
Kelly, whose mother went to Truman in the early 1980’s, performed stand up comedy at Baldwin Auditorium Friday, Jan. 15. The event was the first of the semester planned by the Student Activities Board. Seats were socially distanced, and attendees were required to wear masks.
Katherine Parsons, a member of SAB’s film and comedian subcommittee, planned the event along with Lukas Hudson, fellow SAB member. Because of social distancing, Baldwin Auditorium had a reduced occupancy rate of 228, not including SAB employees. The lower level and balcony of the auditorium reached the socially-distanced capacity before the show, leaving many students unable to find seating.
“Of course, if it was a non COVID semester that would be a different situation, if we could fill the theater even more,” Hudson said. “I’m just very glad that the event proved to be attracting several students cause that’s definitely our goal to make it appealing to as many students as possible.”
Hudson said the expected attendance for the event was 150 people. Hudson said he felt bad that students had to be turned away due to lack of seating but keeping people distanced was important. He also said he was glad so many students wanted to attend despite not being able to sit directly next to their friends.
Two students who attended, Kate Hoey and Sydney Borisenko, said they felt safe and thought adequate precautions were taken at the event.
“The SAB did a really great job of COVID safetylines,” Borisenko said. “I wasn’t expecting anything less, but it was really good how they got so many people in and everyone was able to enjoy it, and you had to have masks and COVID regulations.”
Kelly’s set included stories about his time working at Disneyland, his roommate, and many other memorable and humorous moments from his life.
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Sophomores Hoey and Borisenko are roommates and have known each other for ten years. Since they live together, they said they related to a lot of Kelly’s stories about his college roommate.
“I agree about color when he mentioned the girls who had color coding for who they liked, cause we definitely had that in middle school,” Borisenko said. “So he mentioned that, and we had to make extreme eye contact … so that was hilarious.”
Parsons was backstage during the show, but she said she personally enjoyed it and— from the laughing she could hear in the audience — it seemed like everybody else enjoyed it as well.
Parsons said the event was a bit more difficult to plan than others because a lot of work had to be done over the break. Overall, Parsons said Kelly was a nice, fun and easy person to work with.
Hudson said he and Parsons went to dinner with Kelly after the show and had a conversation with him about his life and future plans. Kelly was nice from the moment they met him, Hudson said, and was also a very energetic person.
“I think especially this year it’s important to give students something that is fun and they can do with their friends but also is in an environment that can be looked after so we know that everybody is safe or as safe as we can be in these times,” Parsons said. “Plus, people pay the activities fee, so we might as well give them something that a lot of people will enjoy.”
Hudson said that this event was a great way for students to relieve stress, relax, and be able to think about something other than assignments or other obligations. This was especially true considering that last semester was hard on students because there were no breaks, Hudson said.