“Girl Code,” “Wild ‘N Out” stars Esther Ku, Rip Michaels and Jacob Williams headline Nov. 12’s MTV Comedy Jam at Scranton’s Radisson at Lackawanna Station
SCRANTON – Comedians Rip Michaels (“Wild ‘N Out”), Esther Ku (“Girl Code,” “Wild ‘N Out”) and Jacob Williams (“America’s Got Talent,” “Wild ‘N Out”) will perform Thursday, Nov. 12 at Scranton’s Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel. Kevin Lepka is promoting the show through Laugh Out Lepka’s Comedy LLC.
“I brought Gilbert Gottfried back in March of this year to the Radisson, so I was looking to do another big show,” Lepka said. “I personally know Rip Michaels and Jason Williams, so I wanted to bring them out and do an MTV comedy jam. I wanted to get a female artist on the show as well, so Rip referred me to Esther Ku from ‘Girl Code.’”
Esther Ku received acclaim for her comedic prowess while writing columns for her high school newspaper. After her paper censored her, Ku founded her own underground publication so she could continue uninhibited. Fellow students told her she should become a comedian; Ku agreed it would be a natural transition. She began performing at open mic nights and in 2008 she competed on Season 6 of “Last Comic Standing,” as well as Howard Stern’s Hottest Funniest Chick contest. She was a finalist in the latter.
“I think entering a comedy competition is really weird and risky because you never know if they’re going to hate you or if the judges are going to make you look bad, but if anything I just took it as exposure,” Ku said. “That’s the way you have to look at it because I think comedy is so subjective. It’s all different, so how can you think this person is better than any other?”
Ku said her competition experience put her on the map. She performed in China, was featured in showcases and heritages shows and appeared in the first three seasons of MTV’s “Girl Code.”
“’Girl Code’ was great because it focused on issues affecting girls and women; it was great to be able to write my own responses in material for that show,” Ku said. “It connected me with my female audience. Now when I perform I have a very heavy female audience out there. It makes me feel good because I like connecting with other women. If I could help inspire somebody to go after their dreams then it was all worthwhile.”
Ku’s material often touches upon her dating life, relationships and crowd members’ significant others (she implores potential audience members to bring along their significant others). Ku’s improvisational comedy skills were given a workout during MTV2’s “Wild ‘N Out,” a show that featured fellow Nov. 12 performer Jacob Williams.
Williams was obsessed with comedians growing up. At college, he attended one of his friend’s comedy performances, which inspired him to try it himself. Williams won a contest to open for Nick Cannon and his interactions with the comedian played a pivotal part in his own career.
“After college I just tried to write and perform as much as possible,” Williams said. “About five years in I sent some tapes to “America’s Got Talent” and they liked it, so they had me on there. Based on Nick seeing me in a couple of places, he liked my comedy enough to give me a shot on “Wild ‘N Out.” He got me into the audition room.”
Williams touches on autobiographical material during his act, including the jobs he has held (and been fired from) before starting comedy full-time.
Williams, Ku and Michaels will be joined Nov. 12 by comedians Half & Half, Shawn Harvey, Michael Bianco, Ryan Burdick, John Walton and Kenan Jerome Floyd. The comedy show will be followed by an after party in the same location featuring DJ Hotsauce.
Reach Gene Axton at 570-991-6121 or on Twitter @TLArts
IF YOU GO
What: A night of comedy headlined by MTV/MTV2 stars Rip Michaels, Esther Ku and Jacob Williams, followed by an after party featuring DJ Hotsauce
Where: Radisson at Lackawanna Station in Scranton
When: Thursday, Nov. 12. Doors open at 8 p.m., comedy starts at 9 p.m.
How Much: $20 tickets can be purchased in advance at King of Gyros (37 Public Square Wilkes-Barre), The Vape Place (276 Railroad Avenue Scranton) or mtvjam.eventbrite.com. $200 VIP packages are also available and include four seats, four drinks and a meet and greet with Michaels, Ku and Williams.