Dylan Foley is standing up for himself

Stand-up comedy has been an entertainment medium for decades, yet the audience and format of these performances are constantly shifting and changing. Whether it be relatable, absurd, or a mixture of both, Netflix has provided a service in which subscribers have access to a plethora of comedy specials, allowing a new generation of comedy fans to have hours upon hours of performances at their fingertips.

Dylan Foley, a senior here at York, has taken his passion for comedy into his own hands. An avid viewer of many stand-up performances, Foley came to the realization that he could pursue comedy himself. After lots of research and hard work, he landed a position as an intern at The Comedy bar, a joint in the heart of the city that prides itself in being “Chicago’s only downtown comedy club”.

“I’ve always listened to stand up comedy, but I watched this stand-up comedy show, “I’m Dying Up Here”, and it kind of got me thinking; the material in that show, I found it funny, but I could do that,” Foley said. “So I looked online for opportunities (to perform) and I found The Comedy Bar was offering an internship. I emailed them, and after a couple of exchanges, I started my internship there.”

Photo courtesy of Dylan Foley
Foley (left) snaps a pic with fellow comic Steve Tapas, who Foley cites as a “good friend, mentor, and comic.”

As an intern at The Comedy Bar, Foley has had the chance to be mentored by seasoned comics who have been in the stand-up game for a very long time. These mentors provide insight as to what makes a piece funny, as well as the factors that build up a solid comedic voice.

“(When developing your voice as a comic), I think a lot of it comes from the structure of jokes in general,” Foley said. “They teach a lot over there, like this is how you should write something, or this is how you make something that’s specifically satirical to your audience.”

Despite The Comedy Bar being an amazing resource for Foley’s budding comedy career, the base of Foley’s performance savvy is a combination of  some of the writing classes at York, as well as a general understanding of the format of stand-up.

“I think there are classes at York that definitely help out, such as ACP rhetoric and even composition to an extent that allow for a more natural sense of what you would need in order to make something funny, but it does require an external knowledge of comedic structure.” said Foley on the tools needed to have your stand-up stand out.

Being a stand-up comedian takes a lot more than just a sense of humor. It takes passion, commitment, and above all, intelligence and a keen insight into what’s happening within the world today. Foley exhibits all of these traits, applying them to his sets. In return, stand-up has given Foley the opportunity to further his public speaking skills.

On November 21 of this year, Foley was given the opportunity to perform onstage alongside his fellow The Comedy Club interns and put his newfound skills on display to a live audience. A pretty big crowd came to watch Foley, and a few of his friends came to see him too.

“Dylan as a friend is a very chill, laid-back, funny person who likes to have fun,” said Sam Kritikos, a senior at York and a friend of Foley’s who attended the November 21 show. “He wouldn’t hurt a fly and is a great person to be around. As a comedian, he can do a great job of relating to the audience and is so confident on stage.”

Although Foley is a “very chill, laid-back” teenager when he’s not performing, he believes he is a more personified version of himself when he steps onstage.

“I lean more towards the personification type, I tend to have a more egotistical and condescending delivery,” Foley said. “Having that helps my style and gives me a lens where I think “how do I view this situation?””

Photo Courtesy of Dylan Foley
Dylan Foley performs a comedy set in front of an audience at The Comedy Bar

Even with his alter-ego performing his sets, his friends still see the Foley they know and love peek through through the facade.

“If I didn’t know it was Dylan talking, I still could’ve guessed it was him,” said senior Katarina Siavelis, another one of Foley’s friends who saw his set. “It conveyed a lot of realism, which is definitely included in Dylan’s personality. He tells it how it is.”

It’s impressive that Foley has such talent as a young comic, but he says that’s just the way the entertainment industry operates these days.

“This is the day and age where people make it young, wherever you look, whether it’s music, stand-up, acting, everyone is starting out young, and that inspired me, that maybe I could start out young too, maybe if I start this now, it can grow into something I could use later.” said Foley.

And it is growing. Foley hopes to become a stand-up comedian in the future, and by the looks of it, it could very well be a possibility.

“For having just started as an intern, Dylan is already on the fast track to the big leagues– he’s a natural,” Siavelis said. “I can’t speak for others, but I definitely had a great time (at the show) and I know my friends did too.”

After years of being a fan of  all aspects of comedy, Dylan Foley is finally standing up for himself and pursuing his passion.