Second Big Mouth a wicked performance for Halloween


Senior Photo Editor

The Oct. 28 Halloween edition of Big Mouth at the 1104 S. Wabash Ave. Building featured comedy, poetry, rap and music, including a song performed by freshman music major Ayana Lawson.

By Campus Reporter

Students sang, danced and laughed at celebrity impersonations at the second Big Mouth of the Fall 2015 Semester Oct. 28. The event was a part of 24 Hour Night, Columbia’s annual series of Halloween festivities.

Held in the 1104 S. Wabash Ave. Building, the evening was organized by the Student Programming Board and attracted student musicians, comedians and other performers. Jake Dagit, a sophomore business & entrepreneurship major, hosted the event while dressed as a kangaroo.

Jason Pauli, a junior cinema art + science major, performed a comedy routine for his Big Mouth debut that included a bit about how actors Owen Wilson and Christopher Walken each pronounced the word “wow.”

In his routine, Pauli explained he felt compelled to tell his friends in middle school that he had a disease because it was the “cool thing” everyone seemed to be doing.

“I told everyone I had the gout,” Pauli said. “People would ask me what it was, and I would respond with the same question to make it rhetorical. I would say ‘Yeah, what is the gout?’”

Pauli said he had performed stand-up before but never for an audience of Big Mouth’s size.

Jina Ballenger, a sophomore cinema art + science major, recited her poem “Too Fat for Fame.” Ballenger said the poem was inspired by an audition experience for a Hollywood show that shared the poem’s name, in which Ballenger allowed a negative comment to hurt her. She said the poem’s message was to accept constructive criticism from others.

“Let constructive criticism help you grow as a person and a performer rather than letting it break you,” Ballenger said.

Tommy Bezreh, a freshman theatre major, performed a comedy routine, noting it was his first Big Mouth performance. In his routine, Bezreh did an impression of Donald Trump, which he said he thinks the audience laughed at the most because Trump is seemingly unpopular among Columbia students.

“The crowd seemed to like me, probably because I was throwing candy at them,” Bezreh said. “It was a lot of fun. [It was] definitely the biggest crowd I performed stand-up in front of thus far. It’s always a learning experience.”

Zoe Aikens, a junior business & entrepreneurship major and vice president of SPB, said the event was planned for a Wednesday to coincide with 24 Hour Night, instead of Big Mouth’s usual happening on Thursday nights.

The timing was unusual, but Aikens said she was happy with the turnout of approximately 275 students, compared with the 340 students who attended the semester’s first Big Mouth. Austin Morin, a sophomore business & entrepreneurship major and the director of Finance and Sponsorship for SPB, said the Oct. 28 event also included an ice cream bar.

“I wanted to do something new and out-of-the box for Big Mouth since it was a Halloween edition,” Morin said. “Since we already had a theme behind the event, I figured, ‘Why not spend a little money and give the people what they want?’”

Morin said SPB will host Big Foot, a talent showcase for dancers that is similar to Big Mouth, Nov. 5 at 7 p.m. at Stage Two in the 618 S. Michigan Ave. Building.

“It was an event from many years ago, and we’re trying to bring it back because we feel like dancers don’t get a lot of representation through SPB,” Morin said. “We’re trying to touch on all the different entertainment industries that Columbia provides.”

Because the event’s scheduled host had to cancel at the last minute, Dagit, the director of Event Productions, said he took over, which he said he should never do again.

“It was stressful and awkward,” Dagit said. “You feel like you’re doing a terrible job, but then some people come up and tell you afterward you’re the only reason they stayed, which is a compliment and an insult, because I planned the event, too.”

Dagit said his goal is for everyone to leave SPB’s events impressed. He said the SPB is working to enhance how it interacts with its audience and is trying to make SPB’s events better known across the student body.

“Even if we don’t get a great turnout, I just want everyone to have a blast,” Dagit said.