Growing up as an Iranian Jew in the United States, Dan Ahdoot certainly faced adversity throughout his life. Fortunately, he has been able to take his experiences and incorporate them into a hilarious stand-up comedy routine. Recently, Michigan State University Hillel and the Michigan State University Activities Board co-sponsored "Last Spartan Standing," an event open to the entire campus and community, which brought Ahdoot to East Lansing to engage individuals in an eye-opening experience - all while rolling in laughter.
Since Adhoot was a finalist on a recent series of the television show, "Last Comic Standing," MSU decided to play up his small screen fame by holding open auditions for "Last Spartan Standing." More than 75 students auditioned for the gig, which was judged by members from both Hillel and the University Activities Board.
On the night of Adhoot's appearance, 11 MSU students, both Jewish and non-Jewish, kicked off the night with a Spartan-style comedy competition. Each participant was allotted between seven and nine minutes to perform their best material. After all of the participants took their run of the stage, more than 1,000 audience members voted for their favorite comedian. Adhoot also cast his vote for the best comic at MSU, with his vote counting as one-third of the final decision. After an exhaustive hour and half of various performances, Hillel student Jesse Gibbings won the competition, along with a $75 gift certificate to Best Buy.
After warming the crowd up with "Last Spartan Standing," Ahdoot took the stage to the applause of more than 1,000 fans. He kept the audience cracking up in their chairs the entire time and even ended with some late-night phone calls to parents of students at the show, in the fashion of "Crank Yankers" - a hit television show on Comedy Central, on which Adhoot is a featured writer.
While Adhoot's comedy was hilarious, the goal was to shed light on a subject almost always kept in the dark. His ability to make light of being both Jewish and Iranian proved as an effective way to identify the stereotypes that both Iranians and Jews face.
"I am Iranian and Jewish which means that when people first meet me, they aren't sure whether to hate me…..or to hate me!" he said.
Adhoot's popularity allowed MSU Hillel to draw one of its most diverse crowds in recent history. Adhoot also was instrumental in helping the 11 participants relax before performing, many of them for the first time, offering advice and talking about his experiences doing stand up.
Contact Dan Adhoot at email@example.com.