To call English student Tom Baird’s comedic style self-deprecating would be an understatement. Baird – who described himself to the audience as a “near-sighted Michael Cera” – gave a side-splitting stand-up comedy performance at the Founders College Talent Night.
The first-year English major was one of nine performers who shared their creativity with York University students, staff and faculty at the event held on Nov. 12 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Baird was the only comic in the lineup, but he wasn’t alone in his ability to make people laugh. Billy Friday, a second-year mechanical engineering student who moonlights as a poet and singer, got the crowd giggling as he melodramatically tossed his notes across the stage, followed by a spontaneous rap performance – with two microphones.
The evening’s roster of acts prompted a range of emotions. Ursula Hegge’s beautiful performance of “Blue-Grey,” a song she wrote and composed in a writer’s craft class, inspired melancholic smiles from the audience. According to Hegge, the song is about the deterioration of a relationship, using metaphors of colour and weather to depict it. The first-year psychology student has been playing piano and writing songs for more than 12 years, and sounded just as soulful as her artistic inspirations, Adele and Amy Winehouse.
For Pablo Idahosa, head of Founders College, creating a space where this range of creativity can exist is important to college life.
“While colleges are communities that foster warm, welcoming environments for student academic success, they are also home to other facets of student life,” Idahosa said. “This event showcases some of our students’ wonderful performative abilities, and we encourage people to celebrate and applaud them.”
And applause there was. From Harish Mohan’s deeply personal performance of “Exodus,” a song he composed and played on the guitar, to Anjola Oyelade’s epic interpretation of Whitney Houston’s “I have nothing,” to Summer Solmes’ serene piano composition, the crowd roared with admiration and support for the talented students.
The evening ended with performances by Sabrina Fortino (guitar) and Malhar Memon (piano) and a heart-felt singalong to the Beatles’ “Hey Jude,” led by student Desmond Poon on the guitar.
In his closing remarks, Marco Sestito, college administrative coordinator at Founders College, asked the crowd if they would be keen to attend a talent night next year.
Students clapped and cheered, shouting “yes” and “we’ll be there.”