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Emma Willmann is One of Stand-up Comedy’s Fastest-Rising Stars.

Last Week She Showed The University of Alabama in Huntsville Why

Emma+Willmann%2C+stand-up+comic%2C++performed+at+UAH+on+January+21st.+
Emma Willmann, stand-up comic,  performed at UAH on January 21st.

Emma Willmann, stand-up comic, performed at UAH on January 21st.

Elizabeth Wiethop

Elizabeth Wiethop

Emma Willmann, stand-up comic, performed at UAH on January 21st.

Shawn Murdock, Staff Writer

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It seems hard to believe that Emma Willmann was not always a comedian. In fact, she claims that she has only been doing stand-up for about four years. In that time, she has taken the world of stand-up comedy by storm. Last year, she was featured on the cover of TimeOutNY magazine as one of the top ten funniest female comedians in New York. She has performed with numerous well-known entertainers, including both Aziz Ansari and Donald Glover (a.k.a. Childish Gambino). On Wednesday, January 21, students at The University of Alabama in Huntsville had the opportunity to see Emma Willmann, perform in the Charger Theater, along with Huntsville comedian and UAH alumnus Brandon Ijames, in a stand-up comedy event hosted by ACE.

Willmann, who cites Wanda Sykes, Richard Jeni, Brian Regan, and Patrice O’Neal as her major influences, proved that the significant praise that she has been receiving is wholly deserved. At first glance, Willmann seems unassuming. She stands just a few inches over five feet tall. Her short, blonde hair could be described as “messy,” and it is unclear whether or not said messiness is intentional. She wore jeans with a hoodie for her performance and kept her performance notes on a sleek new tablet. Simply put, the up-and-coming comedian easily could have been mistaken for just another college student, though Willmann, whose act is not without humorous self-deprecation, proposed her own, more colorful physical description: “an angry Justin Bieber impersonator.”

Willmann’s unassuming appearance lost all of its perceived importance the second she began speaking. Willmann was clearly only there for one thing: making people laugh, and she did not waste any time getting to work. The amicable Willmann entertained her audience with colorful anecdotes that revolved around her personal musings on things like breakups that happen on national holidays purely by coincidence, the unpleasant reality of college dorm life when you share a bunk bed with your roommate, or her life growing up in rural Maine. However, it was Willmann’s talent for impromptu observational humor and deft banter that held the audience captive. By posing simple questions for the audience throughout the show, Willmann lured audience members into impromptu conversations that were every bit as astute as her rehearsed material. Applause erupted from the audience at the conclusion of the show, drowning out Willmann’s words of appreciation for the audience.

Following the show, the decidedly affable Willmann took the time to answer a few questions. For instance, how did Willmann end up pursuing comedy? “I started doing comedy four years ago after I tried to invent something and the product failed… this thing called ‘Stop the Scuff,’” which Willmann described as a clear piece of plastic meant to protect pants against scuffing. The product failed, devastating Willmann. Not wasting any time, she made her first attempt at stand-up while attending a party in Boston the same night of her invention’s failure. She enjoyed the experience and decided to pursue a career in comedy. So far, it seems to have been the right decision.

Willmann also shared her thoughts on the important role networking plays in higher education. “When in you’re in college, it’s such as good opportunity [to meet people]. It’s not just what you’re studying… it’s who you hang around. It’s such a good networking tool… because you never know who’s gonna do what.” She paused to think before adding, “Don’t smoke cigarettes.”

Emma Willmann is currently on tour, performing at colleges and occasionally opening for Louie Anderson. Check out her videos, interviews, and tour schedule on her official page: www.emmacomedy.com.

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Emma Willmann is One of Stand-up Comedy’s Fastest-Rising Stars.