The Trenton Times
Friday, May 01, 2009
BY LISA RICH
Special to the Times
Adam Mamawala never expected to find a niche in comedy.
Sure, his friends always said he was funny, but could he really be one of the nation's up-and-coming young comedians?
Yup. He's all that.
The 2007 winner of the New Jersey Comedy Festival, Mamawala certainly knows how to bring the funny -- scoring laughs with his observational humor that carries influences from comic giants such as Jerry Seinfeld, with a unique spin, of course.
"I was never the class clown growing up, but now, there's really nothing more satisfying than people coming up to me after a show and saying how funny I was," says Mamawala, a senior at The College of New Jersey (TCNJ).
Monday night, he will perform (and headline) a comedy showcase at TCNJ.
It's true these columns typically focus on music, and are meant to give readers and insight into "good times" over the weekend.
But this Monday night performance indeed deserves recognition, as Mamawala has been dubbed the "New Jersey King of Campus Comedy" and won the "Catch a Rising Star" Comedy Challenge in 2006.
His shows are a bit quirky, and he's a bit of a prankster. But Mamawala is also a smart observer -- markedly astute -- and funny to boot.
So what can you expect at his show?
Well, first, you can expect a minimum $5 cover charge -- as the proceeds will benefit the charity group Parents Educating Parents, a program for parents of special needs children.
Second, you can expect a seamless 45-minute show of jokes that lack awkward pauses, the all-too-familiar "uhs" and "ums" of unseasoned comics, and genuinely funny bits about young adulthood, college life, and life in general.
He'll have some new material on hand as well.
Worried you may be too old for the show? Fear not.
"Certain things I mention are geared toward the younger generation, but the vast majority of my jokes are things all generations can relate to," he said. "That's something I've been conscious of from the beginning."
For a sample of his humor, check out the youtube.com clip at youtube.com/mamawalacomdy.
Online, he's scored more than 100,000 views - not too shabby for someone who started comedy less than four years ago at an open mic at the Stress Factory in New Brunswick.
"It's really snowballed since then," he said about the open mic. "That night went over really well and I thought, 'well, maybe this is something for me.'"
A communications major, Mamawala does anticipate graduating this spring. Will comedy be a source of income once he hits the real world?
Well, like any aspiring artist (musician, comedian or otherwise), that's the goal.
"It seems like a pipe dream because like anything else, athletics, acting and whatnot, it's really tough to break into the business," he said.
"I'm not naive about that," he continued. "There are literally thousands of comics who never get anywhere, but with the competition and youtube ratings, I know it's not a false possibility for me."
And hey, he's not stranger to big comic hot spots like New York City.
He's played at major venues including Caroline's in Manhattan, plus other clubs in the area and throughout Atlantic City.
"Comedy is definitely a passion, and it's not something I'm ever willing - nor should I - ignore," Mamawala said. "In an ideal world, I'll be able to get paid to make people laugh."