Joshua Hanyard, junior communications major, debuted his comedy act in the Basement Brewhaus of the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point campus, which led to his opening for professional comedian, Chinedu Unaka.
Hanyard was always interested in public speaking. He remembers attending church and being drawn to the format and structure of the sermons he heard. Hanyard was attracted to the way the minister could piece things together, interpret scripture and relate to the congregation.
Even in first grade, Hanyard was invited to read Dr. Seuss in front of the class due to the ways he utilized characterization to tell the story.
As a preacher, Hanyard’s dad understood how to relate to an audience, something that Hanyard strives to incorporate into his acts.
“I always seek to know what kind of audience I have and gear some of my jokes towards that audience and kind of cater to that,” Hanyard said. “It’s a blend of taking my life, how I perceive the world, and then doing a creative artistic expression of what I see around me.”
The largest crowd Hanyard has performed for was when he opened for Chinedu Unaka. He was humbled to be on stage and to give back to his audience.
“For me to be on that stage and to open up for Chinedu, it allowed me to give people something, even if temporarily, ya know, a smile that they could carry with them even after that performance,” Hanyard said. “And hopefully I was able to touch and impact someone’s life in a way that they could carry that with them.”
Responses from the crowd were overwhelmingly positive, and encouraged Hanyard to pursue comedy professionally in the future, although Hanyard is not sure yet of the degree to which his comedy will take him.
“I don’t view myself as a comedian, but then again I don’t consider myself a lot of things. I’m not strictly a poet,” Hanyard said. “I don’t consider myself any one particular thing, but I would say, if I could keep pursuing this and practicing it, I would love doing that.”
Comedy as a career would be ideal for Hanyard, yet he believes it is a difficult career to get into because it is more about who you know over what you know.
“I think, when you are able to step outside of your zone you can observe other cultures and see what’s happening outside of your little bubble,” Hanyard said.
Solid in his faith, Hanyard seeks to be a continual light of positivity to campus. He encourages others to pursue their passions with boldness while surrounding themselves with a solid support group.
Hanyard’s personal strengths are empathy, public speaking and reliability. He describes himself as enthusiastic, creative and empathetic and if he could only have one more meal, he would choose seafood alfredo with a breadstick on the side and raspberry lemonade.
Check out Hanyard’s next comedy act on April 28 for Late Night Vibes in the DUC.