Lauren Rabaino

Students looking to escape the stress of fall quarter looked no further than Chumash Auditorium Thursday, where featured comedian Dan Smith and opening act Andy Kozel gave much needed laugh-out-loud performances.

“It’s a really good way to get rid of stress,” agricultural business sophomore Alex Gonzales said. “Laughter is the best.”

Smith’s love of comedy began in college when friends coaxed him into doing an open mic event. Now a comedian for the past 15 years, Smith remembers where his passion for comedy developed and does not mind the reminiscing that comes from performing for younger audiences.

“I love doing college shows just because I started comedy in college, so it always brings back really good memories of when I started,” said Smith, whose comedy is based on true stories from his life.

“I am so immature, it’s ridiculous,” he added. “The demographic that is here in the audience, that is how I feel I still act. I act like I’m 19 all the time.”

During Smith’s comedy routine, he acknowledged all of the good-looking women on campus and joked that he was going to enroll. He then revealed a Cal Poly T-shirt from under his jacket, proving that he would fit perfectly into the college scene.

Smith first appeared on television 10 years ago on “Cybill,” starring Cybill Shepherd, and has since been on well-known programs such as “The Drew Carey Show,” “Talk Soup” and “Star Search.” He has also taped a number of comedy specials including “Loco Comedy Jam,” “Comics Unleashed” and recently filmed a special which will air on the Starz Network.

“I’ve been very lucky. Over the last 10 years I’ve been on TV maybe 20 times,” said Smith.

Smith was approached in a comedy club by someone who worked for the television show “Blind Date” and was eventually hired to write jokes for it. Smith has also written for dating shows like “The 5th Wheel,” “Ex-treme Dating” and has just finished writing half a season of the show “Clean House,” which airs on the Style Network.

“Once you start writing for shows, your name gets around,” said Smith. “People kept offering me job, after job, after job.”

When friend Aisha Tyler, an actress and comedian, gave up her spot as one of the fashion police for Us Weekly magazine, Smith took her place and humorously criticized celebrity fashion for four years.

“I’ve had two or three celebrities get pissed at me for what I’ve said about them,” said Smith. “First of all, it’s my job, and if you don’t have a sense of humor about that, then don’t wear a leopard-print, skin-tight curtain to an event and then I won’t make fun of you.”

Smith has also taken time to perform his comedy overseas for U.S. soldiers. In the last eight years, he has traveled overseas at least twice a year. He realizes that the troops want to laugh because it is difficult for them to find a release from their everyday struggles.

“It makes me so proud to be able to go over and do that for them,” Smith said.

Comedy shows are the most requested events at Cal Poly and Associated Students Inc. will continue to give students what they ask for, with similar events scheduled for the coming months.

“I just really like stand-up comedy and I think it’s a really good way to just hang out with friends,” mechanical engineering freshman Chris Gaul said.

Smith performs often in the Los Angeles area. An updated schedule of his upcoming events can be found at www.dansmith.com.

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