January 17, 2003
Ever wonder where your co-workers are headed at the end of the day? This
Inside feature catches up with university employees "after five." Photo
by Bob Elbert.
Name: Peter Orazem
By day, he's: Professor, economics
After five, he's: Stand-up comic
Did you hear the one about: The econ prof who went to comedy
college and now does stand-up routines about his father, a Slovenian
immigrant turned economist and professor.
See, he climbed up onto this stage for the first time: "And I was so
nervous. But I have to say, when I told that first joke and it got a huge
response, boy, that really felt good. I had no idea if any of the jokes
would work, and it was an absolute blast."
And mostly, he cracked everyone up: "Unitarians laugh really well.
And the Maintenance Shop is perfect for stand-up. But there's that fine line
between humor and annoyance, and I often find myself on the shady side of
that continuum for my family."
OK, so here's the punchline: "I've always tried to make this stuff
work in the classroom, but it's not the same. For one thing . . . well, I guess I
can't absolutely say none of my students are drunk. Anyway, this professor
gig has worked out reasonably well, and since they won't give you a faculty
improvement leave to study stand-up, maybe I'll just end up being the
Grandma Moses of comedy. Although I think what I'd really like to be is a
rock 'n roll star."
Ames, Iowa 50011, (515) 294-4111
Published by: University Relations,
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