Sal Vulcano brings laughs to campus

Jaxon White, News Section Co-Editor

Anyone walking past Sojka Pavilion last Friday night could hear a crowd of about 1,200 students bursting into laughter. 

Campus Activities and Programs (CAP) Center and CORE hosted comedian Sal Vulcano for an hour of standup comedy in Sojka Pavilion as part of their annual Center Stage event. Center Stage has been one of the largest CORE events run through the CAP Center every year for roughly the past 10 years, besides 2020 due to the pandemic. This year, students were required to wear masks for the duration of the event while in the venue. 

Jada Lopez ’24, a co-executive planner for this event, said that creating a masking protocol for students to adhere to was the most difficult part of organizing the event. She said that after students did not follow guidelines at the Bucknell Refresh event, there was a lot of pressure to figure out a way to make students follow the rules.

Thankfully with the rules of no bags, food, or drinks allowed inside Sojka, and the masks that were given out if a student didn’t have one, there were little to no masking incidents,” Lopez said.

Lopez added that seeing the line of students outside prior to the event rewarded the hard work that she and her team went through. 

Vulcano has been known as a star on the hit TruTV series “Impractical Jokers” since it began in 2011. The success of the show has also propelled Vulcano’s stand-up and improvisational comedy career. In addition, Vulcano hosts a podcast with co-star Brian Quinn called, “What Say You?”

Meredith Brendel ’24 attended the performance with her friends after seeing an advertisement in the Elaine Langone Center (ELC). 

“I have been watching Impractical Jokers since middle school and I just knew he would be so hilarious live,” Brendel said. She said that she was not disappointed. 

“I thought he had such a fun performance and was so engaged with all of us in the audience,” Brendel said.

Abby Neff ’22 also enjoyed the performance, but has never seen Impractical Jokers. 

“Originally all of my friends were super excited about it and I always go to the big guest speakers and the events that the Cap Center throws. For some reason I never connected that it was [Sal] from Impractical Jokers. I’ve never watched the show, but I’m a sucker for stand up comedy,” Neff said. 

Despite not being as familiar with Vulcano as some of the other audience members, Neff said that she enjoyed the show.

Both Neff and Brendel did express that, although Vulcano’s performance was enjoyable, the opening act by comedian Chris Johnston did make multiple jokes they felt were sexist. 

Neff took the ‘Ethnic Comedy’ course offered last semester, ENLS 222, and said that the class came to the conclusion that a risky joke must be a funny joke. 

“The crowd wasn’t finding [Johnston’s] risky jokes funny, in my opinion,” Neff said.

Lopez wanted to clarify that CORE members were not involved in selecting the opening act. 

“When CORE selects speakers/ performers, it’s important to us that everything is student-driven. I, alongside my peers, created an initial list of comedians and then put together a google form which was sent out to the student body for them to vote on who they would most like to see. Sal Vulcano got 75 percent of the votes this year. We were told that Sal would bring his own opener and it would be a surprise to both CORE members and the general student body. Therefore, while we selected Sal to be the main performance, we did not hand-select the opener,” Lopez said. 

Still, both said that they do not remember being offended by any of Vulcano’s jokes and that the opener’s content did not ruin the night. 

“It was super fun to see live comedy,” Brendel said. 

According to KSAT, an affiliate of ABC News, Vulcano will perform next in San Antonio in December with fellow comedian Chris Distefano. 

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