For those headed for college, the cost of books and tuition is no laughing matter — unless you happen to be a stand-up comic.
Four area teens are taking comedy seriously enough to rent out the Colfax Theater in hopes of entertaining a sell-out crowd to add to their college funds.
“We did a fundraiser for the drama department last March,” said Alta resident Daniel Cassilagio, a sophomore at Colfax High School. “We had so much fun and got such positive feedback from the audience. One of the guys in the group, Jack Moran, who just graduated from Colfax High School suggested we do another show to help raise money for our college tuition. We were totally on-board with the idea.”
Moran, who will be attending Sierra College in a few weeks, has covered the rent for the Aug. 21 performance and is optimistic about the turn-out.
“Last March we had 160 people show up,” said Moran. “We had no advertising. We didn’t even have a blurb in the school bulletin so hopefully with better advertisement and word of mouth we can pack the 238 available seats.”
Moran hopes to study law at U.C. Davis after finishing his studies at Sierra College.
“I loved stand up comedy when I was little,” he said. “Last spring when the drama department was going to put on a comedy show I thought I’d give it a shot. I auditioned and got into the show.”
Shortly after that show, the comic trio of Chase Coney, Jack Moran and Daniel Cassilagio launched Bark Durgundy Productions and began organizing the show that hopefully will be the first of several productions.
Recently, they held an open audition to find the fourth person for their stand-up team.
“There were several people interested,” said Coney, a
senior at Colfax High School who is also directing “The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde” opening on Friday.
“Four people actually showed up and auditioned,” he continued. “They were all really good. It was a close call, but we decided to bring Skyler Souza on.”
Souza, a junior at Colfax didn’t make the cut for the March show, but had continued to work on his routine. He was prepared for this time.
“I was so glad to hear I was picked,” he said, adding he has his sights set on becoming a veterinarian. “I always have a pad of paper and pen with me to write down funny situations.”
He fit what the Bark Durgundy founders were seeking. They wanted someone who not only meshed well as a team member, but who also had good speaking abilities, timing and prepared enough not to have to rely shocking the audience with obscene comments or sexual innuendoes.
“We aren’t dropping any F bombs,” added Cassilagio, who believes good comedy doesn’t have to be vulgar to get a good laugh. “I get most of my material from watching people around me, including my mom.”
Even though she’s often cited in his comedy, Sonia Cassilagio is supportive of her son’s entrepreneurial endeavor.
“I think it’s great that he knows what he is good at and is willing to follow his passion,” she said.
While his sisters were good at sports and he played basketball until eighth grade, Dan Cassilagio admits that sports are not for him.
“I really want to pursue an acting career,” he said. “I also talk about girlfriend issues and little kids,” he said Cassilagio. “Little kids are so funny!”
Chase Coney, who plans to study law at UC Davis, added that his comedy routine also focuses on everyday life.
While the team cited a few different comedians such as George Carlin and Jim Gaffigan as professionals who they admire, the main inspiration for their routines is derived from watching people.
“We didn’t really know each other before the show at school,” concluded Cassilagio, “but comedy is something that has brought us together.”
7/29/10 – by Marci Seither, Colfax Record correspondent