Manhattan Alum Finds Spotlight in Stand-up

by C. Garrett KeidelSports Editor

Jack Melanson is a Manhattan College alum, graduating in the class of 2019 last spring. Post graduation he left the east coast, growing up in Maine and attending college here in New York City, for the west coast and the city of Los Angeles.

In Los Angeles, Melanson started performing stand-up comedy while also currently working in advertising. Having an affinity for stand-up for a large amount of his life, he took the opportunity when moving to a new city to take the stage.

“I have wanted to stand up for most of my life, but I never really imagined having the courage to do it,” said Melanson. “I moved to a new city and felt like there was no reason to not try it. I figured that it would be a good way to try and get over that fear and just try to have fun with it.”

Melanson got his first taste of what stand up feels like while in high school, and then enjoyed the ability to make people laugh.

“I used to play with comedy in high school. We had an annual mock beauty pageant for men, and that was the first time I was on stage making people laugh. I just remember the feeling of complete satisfaction that I could make a crowd of people enjoy themselves and laugh,” said Melanson. “That’s part of the reason why I studied broadcasting, and I took that hear and decided to do stand up.”

Melanson’s comedy has grown as he has gained more confidence in performing. What originally started as jokes to get people laughing, has transformed into a unique point of view to satirize society, acknowledge privilege, and to shine light on equality.

“I started playing around with jokes and the fact that I looked like a frat boy, and that would get some laughs. Now I touch upon the fact I’m a white, middle class man and that I understand I have privilege, and use that as a platform to try and create more equality,” said Melanson. “It took me some maturing to know that I have privilege, and it’s usually a shock to the audience to hear what I have to say, and to me it’s just a way to create a unifying culture.”

Reflecting on his time at MC, Melanson explained how the college and his experiences in New York City helped to shape his comedic perspective. He highlights diversity as being a shaping force for him because in coming here from Maine, it allowed him to be exposed to true and honest diversity for the first time in a broad scale.

“I learned that people really experience a lot of negativity if they are different from me, and that is sad. So I think in moving to LA, [comedy] gave me a platform to express my opinions and my take on those things,” said Melanson.

For current Manhattan students interested in trying comedy, Melanson’s message is nothing but support and encouragement.

“Do it, practice it, watch it, read about it. Just don’t be afraid to get up on stage and make people laugh. I know Scatterbomb is a great outlet to work on those sort of skills…I would just say to not be afraid to do it, and don’t be afraid to not be funny at first. It’s all a process…it’s about the courage to get back up and try it again,” said Melanson.

Looking to the future, Melanson hopes to connect with more people through his comedy.

“If nothing else I’m doing comedy because I’ve found an outlet where I can share my stories of walking around this planet… finding that comical twist makes my own individual human experience fun,” said Melanson. “I hope the audiences get bigger and my jokes get better.”