Welcome to Flat Waffle Comedy Hour at Boston University Central, the Stand-up Club’s comedy showcase where student comics come to perform, bomb and craft material in pursuit of their never-ending quest to make people laugh. Every other Tuesday night, students wait to go out on stage for what could be the most vulnerable moments of their college lives.
Danya Trommer, a senior in the College of Communication, is the co-president of the Stand-up Club on campus alongside her Flat Waffle co-host Alex Kimura, a junior in the Questrom School of Business. Trommer started performing in high school, doing a few shows for her school and a few shows at dive bars in Philadelphia — all of which were filled with “pity laughs,” she said. Then, she came to Boston.
“[High School] shows were for 200 people,” Trommer said, “so it was super supportive and then in college they were for like 15 people, so it was nerve-wracking.”
Despite her initial nerves, Trommer stuck with it and became the co-president of the Stand-up Club and co-host of the show the following year.
As she continued working on material, Trommer started doing shows off campus where she faced her initial jitters again performing around Boston’s bar scene.
“Going to bar shows in Boston is terrifying,” Trommer said, “because you go from this very warm and supportive environment of Flat Waffle to that. But they’re important and everyone should go to them. Flat Waffle shows are a way to build confidence, real shows are a way to get better.”
Trommer and Kimura want Flat Waffle to be an accepting environment to encourage people to come and try their hand at stand-up — and to return even if they fail.
“It’s a bunch of people who just have ideas, who want to formulate them into a routine,” said comic Connie Chung, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences. “And this is a really good place to start out.”
Chung, who made it into BU’s Funniest, an annual competition which seeks to crown BU’s funniest student, and landed her first gig in April, said she found her time at Flat Waffle valuable.
“It was an adjustment period for figuring out what worked at Flat Waffle,” Chung said. “It is mainly just your friends who will just laugh at what you’re saying, versus performing in Boston, where no one knows who you are.”
However, while some swear by Flat Waffle as the best place to start out as an ameteur comedian, Jeremiah Broderick, a senior in the College of Arts and Sciences and the 2019 winner of BU’s Funniest, said his experience was the opposite.
“Doing a bunch of shows in the city has made me confident enough to do well at shows on campus,” Broderick said. “Just because of the amount of opportunities for stage time there are outside of BU and how many different types of audiences I’m able to perform in front of.”
Since the scene is so varied, Broderick said doing stand-up at shows off-campus in Boston helps keep him busy.
“In Boston I can get up two to three times a night at some bar in front of 10 people who didn’t want to see a comedy show,” Broderick said. “People I meet seem to either think that being young and doing stand-up means that you’re going to be famous or they really don’t like you.”
Broderick is often running around the city performing, including hosting a monthly show at Improv Boston called the “Clean Comedy Showcase.”
As for the future of Flat Waffle and the Stand-up Club, Trommer said she wants to have more workshopping and writing material classes in addition to the games and practices it hosts now.
“Flat Waffle shows are a way to build confidence,” Trommer said. “Real shows are a way to get better.”
Stand-up Club is held Wednesday’s at 7 p.m. and Flat Waffle is held every other Tuesday at 9 p.m.. Both are held at BU Central.