A night of laughs, magic and friends at Stand-up Saturday


Samantha Hoppert photo

Comedian Maggie Faris performs her stand-up routine in front of a 300 plus student crowd.

It was a night full of laughter and amazement on March 4 as comedian Maggie Faris and magician/comedian Ben Seidman took the stage for Campus Programming and Relations Double Stand-up Saturday in the Markee Pioneer Student Center.

“Every year CPR goes to NACA, the National Association of College Activities, to see a ton of talented people. We got the chance to see a 20-minute performance from both Maggie and Ben, which led to them both getting booked for Stand-up Saturday,” senior media studies major and CPR event producer Justin Toney said.

With 300 plus students coming out to the event it was sure worthwhile for Toney and co-event producer, Lukas Wymer’s weeks of preparation.

“We plan all of our events 10 weeks out. The students loved both [performers]. There was an overall crowd approval for both comedians,” Toney said.

The first performer of the night, leaving students with nothing but laughter, was Maggie Faris. Faris began her career performing comedy in her hometown of St. Paul, MN over 17 years ago.

“My favorite part of my job is making people laugh, like I feel like it’s my job, it’s my duty. I know people work hard all week and it’s nice to just get a little down time and giggle a little. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like to laugh, so it’s just something that can bring us all together I think,” Faris said.

Faris has won countless comedy competitions and warms the room with lighthearted material sure to give anyone a laugh. She now regularly plays benefit shows such as her recent headlining appearance at Rainbow Mountain Resort, is featured at many comedy clubs and has had her off-stage comedy featured on Fox-TV, CNN and FM107.

“I recently just recorded my second CD a couple weeks ago and the show was so great and I got a standing ovation afterwards and I never ever got a standing ovation before,” Faris said of her live-recorded show in St. Paul, MN.

The University of Wisconsin-Platteville was college number 5 of 10 of March for Faris.

“I will do a few more college shows, do club shows, hopefully doing a TV thing in a month or two, then take the summer off. I’m tired, I want a break,” Faris said.

Students enjoyed her unique comical style and impressive impromptu segment of catching a french-fry one handed. Faris also gave away free bumper stickers with jokes from her show on them.

The second performer of the night was magician and comedian, Ben Seidman, leaving students amazed with his magic and laughing endlessly at his comedy.

Seidman is a young staple of the Las Vegas Strip and is the only person in history to be named the Resident Magician at the Mandalay Bay, Resort and Casino in Las Vegas.

“I’ve been doing magic tricks since I was a little kid and I wanted to major in theatre to have a back-up plan, because I knew if I majored in something else I might chicken out on doing a thing I really like,” Seidman said.

Now a resident of Los Angeles, CA, Seidman grew up in Milwaukee and majored in theater at UW-Eau Claire.

“I majored in theatre, kept doing magic tricks for a long time, since I was like 10, kept doing magic in college and then got into comedy. All of my favorite magicians are one’s who are really funny. All of my favorite guys do stand up. I thought someday I wanna be funny, have a voice, do things I’m excited about,” Seidman said.

When transferring to the University of Nevada-Las Vegas for his last year of college Seidman’s success grew and that eventually led him to becoming a creative consultant for Mindfreak Magician, Criss Angel.

“I left UW-Eau Claire and did my last year at UNLV in Las Vegas because that’s where some of the best magic is and I created a trick. Criss Angel saw this trick and asked to buy it for his show (Mindfreak on A&E).  He ended up hiring me as a writer for his show, so I did that for three seasons.  It was a really good experience I learned a lot about what to do and what not to do,” Seidman said.

Students were amazed at his tricks and many were left speechless as he was able to rip up an envelope that once had his watch and ring inside and seamlessly put both back on; safety pin a student’s $50 bill to his back without him knowing and also trick a student, with her eyes closed, into believing she was being poked on her shoulder as Seidman was nowhere near her. Yet, he was poking another student on the shoulder in the same exact spot, leaving all students minds blown.

“All of his tricks were honestly amazing, but by far the coolest one was the serial number on the dollar bill left in a box that matched the random numbers audience members created, which then matched a phone number to a woman named Sarah, whom he called on stage. Also, the name Sarah was written on a random deck of playing cards with different names on them a student picked out. Everything flowed together in this huge giant trick.  It was so awesome and a really neat experience,” senior mechanical engineering major Taylor Weyenberg said.

Seidman performed at 65 colleges last year and is now re-evaluating where he is going next. Although, his schedule will for sure stay busy, especially with winning Princess Cruises “Entertainer of the Year” Award.

“Last year was a big year for me. I’ve accomplished a lot of the goals I wanted to, so now I’m like what’s next? My next show I will be performing is on a cruise ship leaving Hawaii. After that I’m launching with Princess Cruises brand new boat called the Majestic and its insane, crazy amazing. So that’s a huge honor, I’ll be flying to Qatar and riding a boat to Florence, Italy. So that’s really exciting, I’m pumped, that’s one of the more exciting things I have coming up and am looking forward to,” Seidman said.

If you missed Faris or Seidman, each of them encouraged students to check them out on social media. Faris told students to find her work for free on Spotify and Seidman’s videos and social media links can easily be found on benseidman.com/social.