Humor with a Sense of Design

During her sophomore year, Andy Erikson (Graphic Design ‘09) skipped typography class to audition for Last Comic Standing, but didn’t even make it through the door. “I waited all morning, but there were people lined up all the way around the block. I didn’t even make it into the building to audition,” she remembered. The next time her typography class met, the professor told her she wouldn’t be marked absent—if she performed her routine on-the-spot for the whole class. And so her first public stand-up gig was in McNeal Hall.

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She continued to integrate comedy into her design coursework throughout her undergraduate years. Since graduation, she’s maintained a graphic design practice alongside her stand-up routine, creating websites for other comedians, posters and CD covers for musicians, and her own promotional materials. She often applies an insight from one field to her work in another. For example, “perform for the audience you want, not the audience you have” easily translates into “design for the clients you want, not the clients you have.”

“I think it’s the perfect combination—comedy and graphic design. They’re both about being creative, standing out, finding your identity, and developing your own brand,” she explained.

In fall 2015, Erikson finally had her chance to shine on Last Comic Standing. She traveled across the country and made it to the top five. Her performances favor clever whimsy over shock value, and she hopes her audiences take away the inspiration to let themselves be silly and not worry about what other people think. “I think being funny is very powerful. I like to leave people feeling a positive outlook on things: it’s okay to be different and go outside your comfort zone”

She’d encourage anyone interested in stand-up or improv to give it a shot: not only for the experience and connections, but also for the sheer joy of trying something new. “You’re never going to regret trying it, but if you wait five years, you might regret NOT trying it!”


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