Illustration by Louise Leong.
Illustration by Louise Leong.

You might think your friends are comic geniuses at times, but could they win a national stand-up comedy competition?

A team of eight UC Santa Cruz students are hoping to do just that. The group will compete for the title of “funniest comedy team” in the third annual Rooftop Comedy National College Comedy Competition (NCCC) sponsored by television network TBS.

In its first stand-up comedy round against the San Francisco State comedy team, UCSC will battle at San Francisco’s Café du Nord on April 12.

“UCSC is lucky to have so many funny students on campus,” said Jennifer Corbett, a spokesperson for Rooftop Comedy, the media production company putting on the competition.

Over 20 students showed up to audition for the eight spots on this year’s team, which was a greater turnout than at many other schools, according to Corbett.

“It’ll be fun to represent Santa Cruz,” said Nathan Habib, a second-year economics and film and digital media major from Cowell College, selected for the team for the second year in a row.

“We aren’t known for our sports, so hopefully we can be known for our comedy. That would be amazing,” he said.

Some of the nation’s most well-known comedians, including Saturday Night Live actors Andy Samburg and Maya Rudolph, and Saturday Night Live writer Akiva Schaffer, attended UCSC.

According to Will C. Rogers, CEO of Rooftop Comedy, “The NCCC has become the top college series of its kind, with thousands of students participating across the country.  Working with TBS, it will now just get that much bigger and that much funnier.”

UCSC is among 32 American universities chosen to participate in the National College Comedy Competition. The competition begins with regional stand-offs, where the audience and a panel of industry judges will determine who wins.

Videos of the team’s acts will then be posted online at where the public can vote on who they think is funniest and should continue to the next round.

Habib says that online voting is one of the most important ways UCSC students can support their college team.

“We need every vote we can get,” he said.

The four funniest comedy teams will compete at the National Team Finals in Aspen, Colorado, June 10-13, and the four funniest individuals will go on to the National Student Finals in Chicago at the TBS Presents “Very Funny” Festival: Just For Laughs on June 15-19.

Many producers and big-name comedians will attend the National Finals, which presents many opportunities for the four selected finalists.

“It could open a lot of doors for a comedy career,” Habib said.

Last year, UCSC’s team beat SF State in the first round, but lost in the second to UC Berkeley’s team. Habib says he has two goals for this year’s competition.

“First is to win the whole thing. Second is to bond with the team we have,” he said. “All eight of us are legitimately funny but we’re also nice people. We’re humble and ready to accept advice from each other.”

The team includes a range of individuals. While some have experience with stand-up, others are newbies.

First-year theater arts student Kat Brown took a stand-up comedy class last fall, where she met someone who had participated in last year’s competition. It gave Brown the courage to take the stage and audition.

Brown was selected for the team and looks forward to the competition and representing half the student body as the only girl on the team this year.

“It’s really important to come and support comedy,” she said.

Last year, the comedians were pleased with the number of UCSC students who came to San Francisco to cheer on their school’s comics.

“Santa Cruz represented so well. The enthusiasm and school spirit was great and we want to continue that,” Corbett said.

Rooftop comedy will provide a bus to transport UCSC students to Café du Nord on April 12.

“You’re getting a free ride to San Francisco and being entertained by 16 comedians and a really cool host,” Habib said.

Habib gave a simple explanation as to why students should attend.

“If people want to be entertained and laugh, they should come,” he said.


The NCCC bus will depart at 5:30 p.m. to arrive in time for the 8:00 p.m. show. Students can R.S.V.P. to reserve a spot by emailing