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MIT School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences - Great Ideas Change the World

De Florez Fund for Humor
Previously Funded Events and Projects
 

performer with several audience members at Comedy Night 

 


 

Selected Funded Projects 

 

2017 | Messy Wars
Camp Kesem

Camp Kesem is a college-student-run nonprofit that supports children facing a parent’s cancer. To raise enough money to offer camp free-of-charge to these children, Kesem counselors fundraise by bringing one of the best parts of camp — Messy Wars, a tournament of messy, challenging, and ridiculous camp games — to MIT.
 

2017 | Santa at MIT

"Last December right before finals, I bought a Santa Claus costume, hundreds of candy canes, hundreds of peppermints, and hundreds of pieces of candy. I walked all around campus, playing holiday music from my Bluetooth speakers and handing out sweets and hugs, wishing everyone happy holidays. It was one of the happiest days of my life because I got to make hundreds of people smile with such a small gesture of ridiculousness."

   


 
2017 | The Online Humor Conversation Series
Department of Urban Studies and Planning

A funny and entertaining speaker series about online humor aims to convene current internet humor leaders and researchers (including  @johnnysun and the other project hosts) to discuss, broadly, online humor's role in elections, culture, activism, and social issues. Among the speakers would be internet comedians, activists, journalists, figures from the tech world, and researchers.

             



2017 | Comedy and Cheesecake
Undergraduate Association (UA) Events Committee | Renewal funding.
 

2017 | You're the Expert
MIT Museum | Renewal funding.
 

2017 | Next Act: Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde
Next House Dormitory | Renewal funding.

Next Act production of Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde               



2016 | Celebration of Puns
Comparative Media Studies / Writing

A wordplay experience, designed to appeal to both active punners and pun-enjoyers. The event space celebrates puns and immerses participants. Catered food—renamed for the occasion (a pun-ch bowl, etc) and warms up the crowd. The punniest TV and film clips and a curated slideshow of incurably awful headlines precedes an exhilarating pun-off, awarding goofy prizes for the best on-the-spot puns made in various categories.
 

2016 | Co-Workers
Wu-Ming Theater Club

Wuming Theater Club is a newly founded Chinese Theater Club at MIT. On Oct. 18, 2015, we have had a successful production of a Chinese adaption of Agatha Christie’s And Then There Were None This spring, we want to bring a Russian comedy “Co-Workers” to the community. Both romantic drama and screwball comedy, the play is noted for its scenes of Moscow in the late 1970s, and for its comical depiction of the everyday life and customs of Soviet society during the Era of Stagnation. Our faculty advisor will be Claire Conceison. 
 

2016 | She's the Man
Literature Section

A drag queen performance and lecture for a literature course on: Comedy and Passing.
 

2016 | KSA Culture Show Featuring Eliot Chang
Korean Students Association

MIT Korean Student Association's (KSA) annual Culture Show is held in order to spread the diverse aspects of Korean culture here on the campus of MIT, by including many diverse performances—traditional instrumental acts, dancing, singing, and games. This year, we are looking to invite comedian Eliot Chang.
 

2016 | Flintstones Car
East Campus Dormitory

For freshmen orientation each August 2016, the East Campus Dormitory builds large elaborate structures for incoming freshmen and current students to enjoy. This year we are looking to also construct smaller, more light-hearted and fun projects. Since the theme of our orientation this year is Prehistoric, we are looking to build a full-sized Flintstones car. This Flintstones car will be made of a wooden frame, concrete wheels, and a canvas roof. Planning for this car has started, but the car will be built in August. We are planning to involve freshmen in the construction.

East Campus Orientation's Flinstone Car


 

2016 | Next Haunt
Next House Dormitory

 

A two-year old student group based in Next House dormitory that creates and operates a Halloween haunted real-life escape-the-room game for the MIT community.
 

2016 | An Evening with Aparna Nancherla
The Communications Forum

The Communications Forum hosts Aparna Nancherla to perform for the MIT student body, faculty and staff. We believe that her comedic insights would bring a unique perspective on both comedy and racial issues, as well as provide an opportunity for the MIT community to have fun. 
 

2016 | John Hodgman Presents the Facts
MIT Communications Forum

An evening with New York Times best-selling humorist and former Daily Show correspondent John Hodgman. Using his dry, fictitiously scientific wit. Hodgman walks the audience through his career, from author to stand-up to podcast host, and answered questions from MIT students.
 

2016 | The Explorer
Department of Urban Studies and Planning

A collaborative installation of interactive benign street art loosely based on the original material of the popular twitter comedy account @jonnysun, written by comedian, artist and designer Jonathan Sun.
 

2016 | Comedy and Cheesecake
Undergraduate Association (UA) Events Committee

MIT's own student group Roadkill Buffett will open for our main act, Upright Citizens Brigade. There may be some cheesy jokes, so we will serve Cheesecake.


 



2015 | Comedy at Crossroads
MIT Stand-Up Comedy Club 

On December 8th, 2015, you can see some amazing stand-up comedy at Crossroads Irish Pub from 8:30–10:30 pm. The show is free with an MIT ID and features Mehran Khaghani from NBC's Last Comic Standing! Also performing are Emily Ruskowski, Owen Linders, Jiayong Li, Kenice Mobley, and Alana Peters. A night of stand-up comedy by members of the IAP 2016 Intro to Stand-Up Comedy Class.
 

2015 | Culinary Crash Course
Graduate Student Council (GSC) 

The students attending this event will form into groups based on their cooking interests (baking, dessert making, food decorating, etc.). A Chef from the Cordon Bleu leads each group. Groups obtain a cooking lesson, and collaborate to make a dish to present. The event culminates with a large dinner where people discuss what they learned and taste each other’s meals.
 

2015 | Mr. Joy
Literature Section 

As part of an introductory course on comedy (21L.021), students will attend a live performance of Daniel Beaty's one-man show "Mr. Joy." Funds will be used to subsidize student tickets and public transportation to and from the theater.
 

2015 | Now Then Again
MIT Experimental Theater Company 

The Experimental Theater Company is exploring non-linear narratives, parallel universes, and multiple timelines. Now Then Again is a romantic comedy with a brain- a love story about two physicists' journey to finding each other, even if that requires rewriting history. Just as past can affect future, future events can change the past (according to one theory on quantum mechanics). This play tells the story forward in the first act, and in reverse in the second.
 

2015 | Voo Doo Magazine

Voo Doo, MIT's only humor publication, serves the student body at large by brightening its days with a laugh or two. Next to The Tech, we are MIT's second oldest publication and the third oldest college humor magazine in America. Since 1919, we have published everything from social satire to absurdisms. The magazine is a creative outlet where student visual artists, writers, and performers can experiment unhindered.
 

2015 | Geeks & Greeks: The Making of an Epic Graphic Novel about MIT Hacks
Computer Science and Engineering

Alumnus Steve Altes and artist Andy Fish, present their MIT-themed humorous graphic novel, Geeks and Greeks, a story of student life at MIT, told through the prism of high‐tech hacks. Altes, a 1984 graduate of MIT whose career has spanned engineering and entertainment, based his story on many actual events and hacks. The evening features behind-the-scenes looks at the graphic novel creation process.
 

2015 | Comedy-Acting Master Classes: "Comedic Acting in Film"
Music & Theater Arts | Renewal funding.
 

2015 | How To Stand-Up (Comedy!)
MIT Stand-Up Comedy Club

How To Stand Up (Comedy!) is a stand-up comedy class offered each IAP by the MIT Stand-Up Comedy Club. The class meets four hours weekly for six weeks, and at the end of the class all of the students perform a show for the MIT community. Last year's show was attended by several hundred students! No comedy experience is required but any level of jokesmith is invited to apply.
 


 

2014 | A Night of Comedy with Dean Obeidallah
Muslim Students Association

 

As part of their Discover Islam Series, the Muslim Students Association invites the renowned Muslim American comedian Dean Obeidallah to present at MIT. Dean uses comedy as a means to dispel negative stereotypes about Islam and Muslims. Dean, an award winning comedian who was at one time a practicing attorney, has appeared on “The Axis of Evil” comedy TV special. He has received the first annual “Bill Hicks Spirit Award” for “thought provoking comedy.” His show at MIT uses light-hearted jokes to deliver the thought provoking message to the MIT community: The stereotypes we associate with Islam obscure its true nature.
 

2014 | Alien Citizen: An Earth Odyssey
Women's and Gender Studies

Elizabeth Liang, like President Obama, is a Third Culture Kid or a TCK. Third Culture Kids are the children of international business people, global educators, diplomats, missionaries, and the military -- anyone whose family has relocated overseas because of a job placement. Liang weaves humorous stories about growing up as an Alien Citizen abroad with American commercial jingles providing her soundtrack through language confusion, first love, culture shock, Clark Gable, and sandstorms. How does a young girl cope as a border/culture/language/religion straddler in country after country that feels "other" to her when she is the “other?” Where is the line between respecting others and betraying yourself?
 

2014 | Fierce Forever 11
G@MIT, GFG, F@MIT, LBGT@MIT

Fierce is one of the largest student-run drag shows in the world! Now in its eleventh installment, Fierce has been recognized for its benefits and contributions to the LGBTQ community. Drag is intentionally exaggerates gender expression and roles, prompting discussion of what a social construction like gender means for individuals and for society. At the same time, Fierce provides a great night of entertainment and fun for everyone!
 

2014 | Fung Bros @ MIT
Chinese Students' Club

The Chinese Students’ Club of MIT celebrated New Year’s 2014 with a dinner and a show headlined by Asian-American comedians and rappers Andrew and David Fung, who perform together as the Fung Brothers (Fung Bros, for short). The Fung Bros started their amateur career on Youtube and are best known for their video regarding NBA star Jeremy Lin, and their works and content frequently revolve around Asian-American issues. They have a lot to say about people, culture, systems, and the world, so they turned to stand-up comedy, believing in doing good work with a good message.
 

2014 | MIT Glass Band
MIT Glass Lab

Led by visiting artist Mark Stewart and MIT Glass Lab director Peter Houk, The MIT Glass Band continues its explorations of the world of glass-produced sounds. Working and playing together, MIT students, staff and faculty fabricate sound-makers out of glass and, with Stewart, find ways to combine these sounds into collages of whimsical and otherworldly performances. The Glass Band is open to all MIT students, and both performances will be open to the public.
 

2014 | Stair Piano
Clowns@MIT

Clowns@MIT has created a stair piano. Yes, a piano on the stairs Come by and play some of your favorite songs, or just let your inner musician out. The stairs of Building 16 will be laced with music. Everyone should make a visit.
 

2014 | The Little Things

The Little Things is a game being developed by a team of MIT students that is taking stories of micro-aggressions against women and turning them into epic fighting matches. It is the game's goal to give players the opportunity to step into the shoes of marginalized individuals and experience their struggles in a lighthearted and respectful way in hopes of bringing the world closer to being a gender-equal place.
 

2014 | You're the Expert—Live at the Cambridge Science Festival
MIT Museum

"You’re the Expert" is a live show and podcast that uses comedy to make academic research more accessible and exciting. As part of the 2014 Cambridge Science Festival, You’re the Expert brought their brand of brainy comedy to the MIT Musuem, with a special MIT-themed edition! Through games, sketches, and hilariously misguided guesses, comedians Lori Strauss (MIT Staff), Christine Cuddy (ImprovBoston), and Myq Kaplan (Comedy Central) try to get to the bottom of what it is that one of MIT’s most distinguished professors does all day. A recording of the show is available for free at: www.TheExpertShow.com
 

2014 | Comedy Night at the Thirsty Ear
Thirsty Ear Executive Committee

Once a month, the Thirsty Ear Executive Committee (TEEC) welcomes local professional, amateur, and student comedic performers to take the stage at the Thirsty Ear, the MIT campus pub located within Ashdown House. 'Comedy Night at the Thirsty Ear Pub' impresses upon students the importance of comedy in everyday life by providing student comedians with a comfortable venue and enthusiastic audience, and by inviting guests to enjoy a show by peers and to consider making comedy a hobby of their own.
 

2014 | How To Stand-Up (Comedy)!
MIT Stand-Up Comedy Club

The MIT Stand Up Comedy Club (MIT SUCC) is hosting Mehran Khaghani, a professional Boston comedian who is teaching an 6 week long course in "How to Stand-Up (Comedy)" over IAP. Everything is included: reviewing and watching famous comics to learn their secrets, working on your own original material, attending and performing at local open mics, and ending the course by performing in a show for the MIT community. No prior experience required, but any level of jokesmith is welcome to apply!
 

2014 | Latke Hamentaschen Debate
MIT Hillel

MIT Hillel has hosted the annual Latke Hamentaschen Debate for 11 years in a row with the help of the deFlorez Humor fund. The event brings professors and students together in a hilarious debate over which Jewish delicacy is better- the Chanukah Latke or the Purim Hamentaschen. Professors use the expertise they've gathered from their fields to debate the topic and then everyone unites afterwards over a reception where Latkes and Hamentaschen can all get along- in everyone's bellies!
 


 

2013 | LSC Comedy Film Series
MIT Lecture Series Committee

The MIT Lecture Series Committee has been bringing quality entertainment to the MIT campus since 1944. In 1950 the popular film program began. Today, LSC features 35mm motion picture projection on a 26'x13' screen and 5.1 DTS and Dolby Digital sound, with 7000 watts of amplification. Weekly films showcase a diverse selection of Hollywood blockbusters, foreign and independent film, and the best of classic cinema, many from splendid and rare archival prints. In recent semesters, LSC and de Florez Fund for Humor have partnered to bring more comedy films to the MIT community. We have featured at least three comedy features per semester to help fill the campus with laughter.
 

2013 | RUNE, MIT Arts & Letters Journal

RUNE’s annual publication serves as both a showcase and an outlet for the artistic and creative talent at MIT. We consider submissions from all MIT community members. Our editorial board of 10 active members meets every Sunday and selects roughly 50 pieces for publication in our annual magazine. These pieces present exceptional talent and offer a unique or humorous vision. RUNE publishes around 800 magazines every year. All magazines are distributed to the MIT community free of charge. Our website is http://runemag.mit.edu/.
 

2013 | Comedy-Acting Master Classes: "Comedic Acting in Film"
Music & Theater Arts

Cathy Haase from the famous Actor's Studio in New York, author of Acting for Film, will teach master classes in the new Theater Arts class: "Acting with the Camera," popular with MIT students who create films and have a little MIT film festival at the end of term. The theme of these master classes is "Comedic Acting on Film." 
 

2013 | Dance Your MCP
DUSP Student Council

The Department of Urban Studies and Planning, like many departments, encourages its Masters students (Masters in City Planning, or MCPs) to write theses and to conduct research with professors in the department. The students rarely have a chance to share their research with others outside of their program, leaving research in serious silos. To break down these barriers, the DUSP Student Council is organizing a Dance Your MCP night, to have students dance their research. Inspired by the Dance Your PhD movement, the Dance Your MCP night will be a chance to share research within the department between program groups, and across the university. 



2012 | Aardvark Jazz Orchestra Concert
Music and Theater Arts

The Aardvark Jazz Orchestra, under the direction of MIT Music Section’s Mark Harvey, presents a Post-Election concert on November 10, 2012 entitled “Satire & Salutations.” Quotes from Mark Twain, and the spirit of H. L. Mencken held sway as Harvey’s original pieces such as “Flat Earth Boogie,” “De-Evolution Blues,” and “Scamology” evoke the political/cultural scene, introduced by hilarious anecdotes from former De Florez Professor Jay Keyser, a member of the orchestra. The show includes a salute to past “Rascals & Scoundrels” James Michael Curley and Charles Ponzi. All in all, an MIT musical-satirical evening that neatly counterpoints the best of our national stand-up comics.
 

2012 | "Curtains" Next Act musical mystery for Campus Preview Weekend 
Next House

Each year Next Act presents a free musical for accepted freshmen at MIT's Campus Preview Weekend. The show is completely designed and presented by current students, with over 70 students participating this year between the cast, crew, and pit orchestra. This year's production, "Curtains," is a murder mystery in which the lead of a new musical in Boston is murdered at the end of a preview of the show.
 

2012 | DIRP (Informal Research Program)
Graduate Association of Mechanical Engineers (GAME)

The inaugural DIRP Conference includes 9 presenters whose conference talk titles included: “Ketchup bottle flatulence, adventures in practical rheology”; “Quantum dot organic nanowire solar cells to power missiles to fight breast cancer: Quantifying buzz worthiness of modern research”; “7i: Fundamentals of leprechaun dynamics”; and “drip coffee, republicans, your driveway + breast cancer.”
 

2012 | The Left Field Stand-up Comedy Workshops and Showcase Performance

The Left Field, a premier stand-up comedy ensemble that travels and performs all over the U.S. hosts two workshops with the MIT community, encouraging participants to recognize the potential for humor in their everyday lives, and instruct them with the skills necessary to turn that humor into a stage-ready performance.
Following the workshops, The Left Field, along with select workshop participants, puts on a live comedy show for the enjoyment of the community, as well as to give a the participants a chance to apply what they learn.
 

2012 | Videogame Literature Classics Exhibit
Singapore-MIT GAMBIT Game Lab

The proposed project will be an interactive exhibition of videogames inspired by classic literature, including works by William Shakespeare, Edgar Allan Poe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and Douglas Adams. These adaptations appropriate the original texts in a whimsical way, turning the worlds of these stories into spaces to be explored, often abstracting them into videogame conventions.