Hangin’ out OSU’s funny guys Ricky Mulvey and Seth Shanley
Let’s be honest for a second. There are things that happen on this campus that straight up don’t make sense.
$1.4 million on a clock tower? Uh, why? Enforced meal plans and living requirements for first- and second-year students? Huh? What do you mean it’s $500 for a parking pass for campus?
If you’re a student at Ohio State, you’ve more than likely asked yourself these questions over and over again. But, if you’re Ricky Mulvey and Seth Shanley of the Ohio State Comedy Club, you don’t just simply ask yourself these questions—you go straight to the press and crack some jokes about it.
Mulvey wrote his first column for The Lantern, the student operated newspaper at Ohio State, about why students should be grateful about the new Tom W. Davis clock tower. As you can expect, some people saw the humor and others were unable to read between the lines. But in the satirical piece meant to poke fun came honest question of: Is there a better way we could’ve spent the $1.4 million? In short, the answer for Mulvey was abso-fucking-lutely.
Since then, Seth Shanley teamed up with Mulvey to join in on the fun. And as I sipped on my beer at Ethyl and Tank while I hung out with the two, Mulvey explained that he typically comes up with the story ideas while Shanley comes in to provide hilarious jokes and punchlines as well as keeping Mulvey grounded when it’s 4 a.m. and he’s calling Shanley because he’s heated about an occurrence. It’s a balance of yin and yang with a common love of satire and comedy at its core.
“We want people to challenge. I think for people to love something sometimes is to challenge it.”
The guys have been firing off hot takes on things like meal plans being a cool way to screw students out of money and how the university will be giving students iPads after professors constantly complain about cell phone usage in class. And while these satirical pieces are nothing new to the news cycle, they coincide with recent uprise of social and political commentary on late night television. In a sense, Mulvey and Shanley are the OSU version of the Weekend Update circa Amy Poehler and Seth Meyers on Saturday Night Live.
Just like the great personalities on late night television today—think Stephen Colbert or John Oliver—the two don’t shy away from expressing how they feel about a topic on a large platform. Though these fiery opinions on a topic could be misconstrued as a sheer hate for the university, Mulvey and Shanley collectively agree they do this out of love for the university.
“One of the reasons we poke fun [at the university] or stick our finger in the eye of the administration a little bit in our articles is because we do love this place,” Mulvey explained. “We want people to challenge. I think for people to love something sometimes is to challenge it.”
So with that in mind, I decided to fire off some of campus’s biggest complaints—the buses, those damn bikers, parking—to have the comedians provide some insight on the madness.
First up was the parking situation on campus. Most of the complaints from this derive from the prices for a yearly parking spot. And the complaints come with justification; the average cost of a parking pass at Ohio State is $463.98. For Mulvey, his complaint is less about CampusParc and it’s pricing and more about how the university seems to be wiping its hands clean of an issue while raking in some serious cash.
“When you privatize parking, it’s easy for the university to wash their hands and say, ‘Yeah, you are paying more than you should, but it’s not our responsibility anymore,” Mulvey said. “So with parking I think it’s an example of the university both washing their hands of an issue and milking money while pretending it was a gift.”
On the other hand, university spokesperson Chris Davey told me via email that the university isn’t washing it’s hands of anything regarding parking and that the current agreement places limits on the growth of parking fees. He added the committee is made up of students, faculty, and staff that closely monitors the terms of the lease agreement.
Anyways, back to your regularly scheduled programming of hot takes.
Next was the hot topic of buses on campus. If you’ve ever been on this hip new social media place on the world wide web called Twitter, you’ve more than likely seen a tweet or two about how college students are fearless when it comes to crossing the street. Is a bus coming? Who cares, I have a final and getting hit by this bus means I don’t have to take it. For Mulvey, he thinks the joke is inconsiderate when you take into account most bus drivers are students just working their job. As for Shanley, he’s just tired of the lazy jokes.
“I’m all for Twitter jokes that are inconsiderate, but that one is just hacky,” Shanley said. “It’s like when someone quotes your tweets with, ‘I’m crying.’”
Mulvey added it’s like when unfunny people attempt to be funny.
“We’re not against it because it’s inconsiderate. It’s like when people don’t know how to be funny so they just quote Will Ferrel from his older movies because they are like, ‘Oh! Well that’s funny!”
Lastly was the recent banning of all IFC fraternities on campus. For Mulvey, who is in a fraternity, he felt they deserved more of a due process about the situation. Just like prohibition, Mulvey said he thinks there will be an up-tick of smaller frats popping up around off-campus which makes it harder for the university to monitor. But, he’s taking it in stride and is staying on brand about it.
“I was thinking about writing a song. You know the song “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash? ‘Well, I’m stuck in Folsom Prison and time keeps dragging on.’” Mulvey sang in his deepest Johnny Cash voice he could muster. “I was thinking about doing a blues song called “Frat Boy Blues” about being suspended. ‘Well, I’m stuck on suspension…’”
So yeah, these takes are without a doubt hot. Some might even say burning fire red hot. But that’s just what you get when two comedians come together for social commentary.
If you are a comedian looking for a niche or a group to join, check out the OSU Comedy Club! facebook.com/BuckeyeStandupComedyClub/