Video by Frances Mylod-Vargas
He told witty jokes, danced to the Jackson Five’s “ABC” and twerked, as he effortlessly made a venue of 1,300 audience members boom with laughter.
This was Jordan Miller at his TEDxCalPoly talk on Oct. 21.
Miller, an environmental management and protection senior, called the TEDx talk a highlight in his career. But, this was not his first comedic performance.
Miller began pursuing his love of comedy just over a year ago. He was inspired by a quote by an unknown author that he found on social media: “Be fearless in the pursuit of what sets your soul on fire.”
The words resonated with him and a week later he began posting flyers around campus calling for Cal Poly students interested in being a part of his new comedy troupe.
What transpired was the creation of “The Nightcap with Jordan Miller,” modeled after a late night talk show with comedy sketches produced by a team of students interested in writing, videography, editing and producing.
“I started ‘The Nightcap’ off a dream,” Miller said. “I got an incredible team together and they worked incredibly hard. We all did. We made this beautiful thing, and it’s only getting better by the week.”
Multiple videos from “The Nightcap” have become popular on YouTube with more than a thousand views.
Miller crossed off another item on his comedic career bucket list when he performed his speech “Dancing Through Puberty” at TEDxCalPoly.
He described the scenes of hormone-filled hotspots of social insecurity in hopes that audience members could relive their memories of school dances — getting dumped by middle school dance dates and cringe-worthy slow-dancing on gym floors.
Miller’s talk wasn’t just pure entertainment. His message was that being vulnerable is key to making impactful social interactions. The anxiety we try to avoid at dances is actually a way to foster authentic relationships. Dancing provides a shortcut in making these connections.
Even today, Miller experiences the common pre-performance butterflies.
“I’ve been nervous for a while, but when I get on that stage, I just turn on. Bringing a smile to people’s faces is what I want to do, and being able to do that in such a great environment is everything I want,” Miller said.
Miller was honored when he received the call from psychology senior and TEDxCalPoly organizer Cameron Wiese, asking if he would perform as one of nine speakers at the event. His act provided a unique take on the night’s theme, “Plot Twist,” offering some comedic relief.
“It gave me the flexibility to do whatever I wanted with my comedy,” Miller said.
In the future, Miller wants to pursue his passion for comedy. After graduating, Miller plans to dedicate a couple years to finding a career in the entertainment industry as a performer and writer.
“My ultimate dream is to be an integral part of a writing team that’s really affecting change through comedy and entertainment,” Miller said.