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Professor with Stand up Comedy Ambitions Tests Material on Captive Class


Photos (with edits by Adam First) from U.S. National Archives / CC0, Delia Chen / The Daily Pennsylvanian, and U.S. National Archives / CC0

Everyone has to start somewhere. For professor and new comic George Torsk, that somewhere is behind a podium in Stiteler Lecture Hall B26. 

Much of his material is based on class topics, which is hard for an audience that hasn’t done the reading since syllabus week. The rest mostly revolves around his children, married life, a little bit of politics, and nineteenth-century ventriloquism. 

Not all jokes have gone over well. “This is the part where you’re supposed to laugh,” he muttered to himself in a low moment that would’ve made even Jeb Bush cringe. But Torsk hasn’t given up hope. “It doesn’t matter they didn’t like the jokes today, they’ll be back on Thursday at the same time! And the next week, and the next week, and the next week…”

As the semester has gone on, however, Torsk has begun to question his audience. “Well now they laugh at everything, but I can’t tell if it’s just because they all want As,” said Torsk. “Either way, it’s a nice confidence boost. Netflix special, here I come!