‘Laughing helps your health’: Comedian Adam Norwest performs at Elon University

Marlena Chertock

MARCH 11, 2011

Adam Norwest began standup comedy at 13. He performed a show in Irazu at Elon University on March 11, 2011. Photo courtesy of adamnorwest.com.

Comedian Adam Norwest feels like he’s performed standup comedy since he was a fetus, he said. He gave a show in Irazu at Elon University at 8:30 p.m. on Friday, March 11, 2011 to an energetic, eager-to-laugh group of students.

Norwest has performed professional improv since he was 13.

“To me, comedy is like an adventure book,” he said. “I have to figure out where to take you guys.”

People who perform comedy are messed up in the head, according to Norwest.

Norwest was fired from a phone company for being insensitive, he said.

“People would call in, saying, ‘My phone’s not getting calls,'” he said. “I would say, ‘Get better friends.'”

His Friday act consisted of mostly dirty jokes, honest and personal humor and questioning people’s questions about his own sexuality. He is straight, he said repeatedly throughout the show.

Norwest targeted several audience members for added effect. He called one African American student Beyonce and poked fun of two male students sitting in the front row for their attempts to keep straight faces.

When he said his parents asked if he was gay, an audience member said her parents asked her too. He referred to her as “lesbian” for the rest of the night, even picking on her boyfriend.

“I’ve been told I look like Lance Bass,” Norwest said. “I think that’s rude.”

Norwest made a lot of jokes about being single.

“I use the second half of my bed as storage,” he said. “It’s a King size. I realize I’m not just single, I’m alone. That’s a true and depressing part of my life.”

Laughing helps your health, Norwest said.

“I think when people are having a bad day, they need to laugh,” he said. “When people are having a good day, they can laugh. It’s fun to be able to use my talents to help a bunch of people.”


Norwest talks about how he got into comedy

Norwest talks about why he loves comedy

Norwest describes his best experience on stage

Elon alumnus took grunt work, worked his way into Baseball America

Marlena Chertock

March 11, 2011

Nathan Rode uses a radar gun to check how fast a ball is going when it is thrown or hit in baseball. Photo courtesy of Rode.

Nathan Rode was willing to do grunt work to get where he wanted.

He took a position with a lot of data-entry at Baseball America, which is one way he got into the journalism business.

During his senior year of college, he interned at Baseball America for 20 hours a week.

“It was mind-numbing stuff,” Rode said. “But I wanted to work there, so I got my foot in the door.”

He was a part-time student and worked 30 to 40 hours a week at the magazine during his last semester.

“I paid my dues,” he said. “I was willing to do anything and everything to get me where I am now.”

When he graduated from Elon in 2007, there was an opening in the magazine and he went for it. He told the editors he’d been working with them for a while, gave them his work samples and expressed his interest.

Rode has always been a very sports-minded person. He played high school baseball and wanted to go into sports writing in college. He got interested in the reporting aspect when he came to Elon.

Graphic by Marlena Chertock.

He served as a sports reporter on The Pendulum in his sophomore year, sports editor and editor-in-chief during his college career.

It’s important to keep stories fresh, according to Rode. The question is how to make each story different and not to write the same way, according to Rode.

“Maybe the players have similar statistics,” Rode said. “In terms of being a person, they’re really different.”

Rode wants to work his way up in the magazine, he said.

“I started there and I’m still there,” he said. “I’m in there for long haul. This is what I want to do.”

The editors-in-chief have been there for six years or more, so they will be there for a while, Rode said.

“Maybe one day that’ll be me,” he said. “That’s my goal.”


Nathan Rode talks about practicing writing to improve

Rode talks about giving your writing to different readers (Ex. his editors, his wife) to get responses and see if readers understand

Greensboro show presents multiple sides, reactions to 1960 sit-in movements

Marlena Chertock

FEB. 24, 2011

The stage for "Periphery" is set with background pictures of the Greensboro Four, a few tables and chairs. Photo by Marlena Chertock.

What surprises Bobby Pittman the most about the sit-in movement is not many people know it started right in Greensboro, in their city. The peaceful protesting of four A&T University freshmen ignited a nation-wide movement of sit-ins and protests.

“I went to A&T University and didn’t know (the sit-ins took place in Greensboro),” Pittman said.

Pittman played Eugene in “Periphery,” a play hoping to inform the public about the sit-in movement and the diverse reactions.

Thursday, Feb. 24 at 8 p.m. 12 cast members took the small stage in the Broach Theatre at 520 S Elm Street in Greensboro, N.C. in pride and brought the audience back to 1960 and the civil rights movement.

Information from the Community Theatre of Greensboro website. Graphic by Marlena Chertock.

The Community Theatre of Greensboro (CTG) put on its second-week production of “Periphery,” a play in honor of the Greensboro Four sit-ins. The play, written by N.C. playwright Ed Simpson, has been revived this year. It also ran two years ago to honor the anniversary of the opening of the International Civil Rights Center and Museum, a museum in Greensboro in the original Woolworth store where the sit-ins took place.

The play is also a way to help increase visitor numbers to the museum, as it is suffering from lack of visibility, according to executive director of CTG Mitchell Sommers.

The play will be showing Feb. 18-27.

The sit-in movement encouraged other movements, such as read-ins at segregated libraries, kneel-ins at segregated churches, sleep-ins at segregated hotels and play-ins at segregated parks, the cast said in one scene.

The play was filled with messages of standing up and acting, messages that talking is not always enough to bring about change.

A subtitle on the playbill describes the show as “Conversations about the ‘Greensboro Four’.” The play isn’t only about the four freshmen who started the sit-ins, it’s more about the reactions that people in the community had to the sit-ins, Sommers said.

“Periphery” showed how difficult it was for some people to accept change, how difficult it was for some people to understand why their college students, sons and daughters, black and white, were becoming involved in such a movement and being arrested for peaceful protests.

Several members of the cast became white, rich folk, holding wine glasses and wearing vests and hats with lace.

“I don’t understand why things have to change,” one rich, white woman said in the scene. “They have their own places, we have ours.”

A black shop owner discouraged his son from getting involved in the protests.

“Their (the students involved in the protests) mama’s didn’t send their kids to college to skip class and sit around a dime store all day,” the shop owner said.

The play also offered perspectives of people who were drawn to the movement, who believed in it.

Mike, a white student, played by Lee Wilson, a freshman from UNC-G, went through a change in the play. In the beginning, he was confused about what his professors were pushing and asking of him. But by the end of the play, he shouted at his father in a standoff.

“If something is wrong now, then waiting a week, a month, a year is making it wronger,” Mike said.

The cast ended the show by standing together and singing Sam Cooke’s “A Change is Gonna Come,” reminiscent of the protest and revolution songs that were sung throughout the sit-ins and other protests, to keep spirit and resolve alive and show the will of the protesters.

Much like these songs demonstrate will, a statue on the A&T campus memorializes the Greensboro Four, the freshmen from A&T who started the sit-ins. Pittman said he knows about the statue, but never realized the sit-ins happened in his city, down the street.

“People tend to forget their bad history,” he said of the challenges of the sit-ins. “So if you have a black mark on your record you kind of sweep it under the rug hoping everybody forgets about it. But history is history, everybody needs to know about it. Good, bad, whatever.”

That’s one of the reasons he wanted to be in the play, he said. He was able to pass the knowledge along.

Alison Williams of the cast talks about moving to Greensboro in part because of the sit-in movement

Williams had the choice between Tuscon, Ariz. and Greensboro, N.C. when looking for a job. She chose to come to Greensboro.

“This is a really important part of the country for me and I’m really proud of it,” Williams said.

Williams talks about the importance of sharing the message of the Greensboro sit-ins

Executive director Mitchel Sommers talks about people not knowing the sit-ins happened in Greensboro

Sommers talks about informing the public about  the Greensboro sit-ins through the play

Comedian shares personal experiences as humor at Elon University

Divorce, hippie parents, run-ins with the law make up comedic content

Marlena Chertock

FEB. 17, 2011

Comedian Collin Moulton performed in Irazu at Elon University on Feb. 11. Photo by Marlena Chertock.

Imagine a comedian jumping into the audience and giving a male in the front row an unexpected hug. This is part of comedian Collin Moulton’s normal routine.

Moulton performed in Irazu at Elon University at 8:30 p.m., after he finished talking with a few members of the audience before the show.

SUBlive will bring in a comedian the second Friday of every month this semester in hopes of creating a lasting comedy series to diversify the types of performances offered at Elon.

Moulton said his comedy aims to relate to his audience through real-life experiences and personal stories.

“My comedy is really personal, high energy, and some observational,” he said. “I have a lot of interesting characters in my life.”

Moulton’s stories cover run-ins with cops, jokes about romance, his unusual life growing up and other real-life topics.

The small audience didn’t keep Moulton from getting students to laugh and sometimes feel uncomfortable.

Moulton repeatedly picked on one male member of the audience.

He explained that at shows he comes up to guys and hugs them, or puts his leg on them, purposefully creating an awkward situation.

The audience member said he’d break Moulton’s jaw if he came up and hugged him.

“I think you’re lying,” Moulton said. “People don’t know what to do because it’s a surprise. It’s paralyzing.”

People are frightened by their own homophobia, Moulton said, calling it a neurotoxin.

Moulton’s comedy focused on homosexuality and people’s reactions, his gay uncle, how his parents raised him, his parent’s divorce and taking care of his aging parents as they are put into hospices.

Moulton will appear in an episode of Laugh Out Loud Comedy Festival that will debut on Showtime Feb. 24.


Moulton explains how he got into comedy.

Moulton describes an embarrassing experience

Moulton said his comedy aims to relate to his audience through real-life experiences and personal stories.”My comedy is really personal, high energy, and some observational,” he said. “I have a lot of interesting characters in my life.”Through stories about run-ins with cops and jokes about romance, Moulton covers all kinds of real-life topics that, to some college students, may seem quite familiar.

Traveling with a purpose

Students hold a 2-day environmental conference in Sri Lanka, film and conduct research

Marlena Chertock

FEB. 6, 2011

Senior Natalie Lampert teaches Malmi the lyrics to “Lean on Me” at Panangala Mahabodhi School. The Sri Lankan school children taught the scholars lyrics in Sinhalese. Photos courtesy of Elizabeth Leman.

Fourteen seniors walked through tea country, rolling green hills of tea all in lines on hills. They were in Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka.

“The word that kept coming to mind was lush,” Elizabeth Leman said. “Everything was so lush and colors were so vibrant.”

The Periclean Scholars class of 2011 traveled to Sri Lanka from Jan. 7 to 26 to conduct research, produce a documentary and hold a conference. The class of 2011 focuses on environmental issues in Sri Lanka.

They visited the schools they’ve been working with for three years, donating supplies and books. They also held a two-day conference called LEAF, Leaders in Environmental Advocacy Forum, at the University of Colombo.

“People can’t be expected to act sustainably unless they’re informed,” Jesse Lee said.

That’s where LEAF came in. LEAF forged a partnership with experts, professors, non-profit organizations and people, Lee said.

“We tried to invite a lot of academics, students, businesses, non-profits, to get everyone together and foster conversation, build relationships between the people there and us as well,” Leman said. “Hopefully that will be something sustainable after we graduate.”

Documenting environmental issues

Lee, Chas Smith and Jack Dodson, multimedia editor for The Pendulum, took on a separate documentary project during their time in Sri Lanka.

“The documentary is looking at the environmental issues for Sri Lanka as an example of what the rest of the world is facing,” Lee said. “While it’s all shot in Sri Lanka, the message is global.”

They looked at waste management, water quality, deforestation, mangroves and the human-elephant conflict, Lee said. The human-elephant conflict is due to overpopulation of both humans and elephants in Sri Lanka, according to Lee.

Some scenes in documentaries unfold spontaneously, according to Lee.

“There’s a scene that I didn’t expect to get at all, it wasn’t really on our radar,” Lee said. “We were on an island with Charith Senanayake, a director of Rainforest International.”

Nuwara Eliya, rows of tea in Sri Lanka. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Leman.

The island is home to a school for young boys to learn to become Buddhist priests.

“We were walking by a building and there are no doors and no handles on the outside,” he said. “And as we go by, the doors open up and we go inside and take off our shoes,” he said.

The group had ended up inside a Buddhist priest’s mediation room.

“Without any prompting from us, this priest just begins speaking about how connected his faith is to the environment and how important it is for them to have that as a part of their religion,” Lee said.

The documentary is in the editing stages. Lee said they hope to have a feature-length documentary finished before the semester’s end.

Researching the effects of war

Leman researched international humanitarian law. She is researching three case studies: the Nuremberg tribunal, the Rwanda tribunal and the Sri Lanka war crimes situation.

Even though the situations are different, Leman said she is trying to find common threads between them.

“Overwhelmingly, what I’ve found was that people want to move on with their lives,” Leman said.

“They want to rebuild; they’re more worried about having enough to eat and sending their kids to school than they are about finding out who killed their loved ones (in the war).”

Leman came away feeling more pro-government than she said she thought she would.

“The government feels like its been singled out,” Leman said. “For having defeated terrorism, it feels like it should have a pat on the back instead of being pointed fingers at.”

Sri Lankans are ready to talk about and work through the issues surrounding what happened with the war, she said.

Researching water quality in Sri Lanka

The students at Panagala Junior School and Elon painted a mural together at the Panagala Junior School. Photo courtesy of Elizabeth Leman.

Senior Julia Crowley researched water quality in the country. She focused on discrepancies between urban and rural quality and availability. She conducted a survey in English and Sinhala, a language in Sri Lanka.

People in Sri Lanka are starting to realize the impacts that development will have on their water, according to Crowley.

“I’m just hoping that my survey, as small as it was, can add to that body of knowledge as they start to gather more data,” she said.

She also said Sri Lankans come from a Buddhist culture and have a different relationship with nature than Western people.

“They view themselves more directly a part of nature as I feel we view ourselves in Western culture as above nature,” Crowley said. “We view ourselves as stewards, which sounds nice but is actually patronizing. It reduces the importance we put on nature.”