For 12 minutes yesterday, Lawrence M. Rhein '92 was a star.
The Hurlbut Hall jokester split the sides of about 100 people at the Harvard Square comedy club Catch a Rising Star last night with dozens of home-made quips and one-liners.
Working with room-thawers like, "If I want to work, I want to work at a place with a cute name, like Catch a Rising Star...How about my dorm room, "Catch a studying geek?" Rhein made the first of three appearances at the club before mostly freshmen friends and residents of his hometown in nearby Framingham.
Rhein was one of several comedians performing for the club's amateur night, a twice weekly event that gives young comedians the opportunity to develop their talent, said Robin D. Hordon, Rising Star artistic coordinator.
Rhein filled his monologue with witticisms ranging from work at a fast-food Mexican restaurant to religious cults. The budding comedian also poked fun at `traditional' Harvard life, including the cost of books at the Harvard Coop, the lure of MIT `babes' and strict professors.
A particular crowd pleaser for Rhein was an observation about airplane bathrooms. "When you're going to the bathroom on a plane, here's a question, where does it go?" Rhein asked. "If it's staying in the plane, whose luggage is it next to?...`That used to be a blue suitcase,'" he quipped.
Members of the audience said they enjoyed Rhein's performance. "He held his own with the professionals," said Daniel L. Rothbaum '92, who was in last night's crowd.
Hordon said because of a simultaneous Boston charity benefit featuring Steven Wright and other well-known comedians, he expected fewer than 20 people to show for last night's performance. About 90 percent of last night's full-house were Rheinsupporters, Hordon estimated.
"I'm always telling people funny stories, and I wanted to see if I could do it up on stage," Rhein said. Rhein, whose performing experience had been limited to a high school talent show, was booked after applying to perform at the club in December.
"His whole life is like a stand-up comedy act," said roommate Daniel Weiner '92. "Everything he says becomes really animated and funny."
Rhein, a triplet, attributed his comedic talent to his childhood. "When you're with two brothers your own age, you make fun of them, they make fun of you. You really have to try hard to be funny," he said.
Rhein said he plans to audition for the Kirkland House Comedy Night this spring and book another performance at Catch a Rising Star this summer. Amateur-night comedians are guaranteed three performances at the club, Hordon said.
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