UM-St. Louisan manages job, family, comedy career
|Stephanie Platt of The Current|
|Carolyn Agnew, departmental assistant, student and mother leads a busy life. In addition to her other roles, she has also performs as a stand-up comedian, something she gave up during the early '90s. She has since performed at The Funny Bone, The Comedy Forum and other venues.
Twenty four hours make a day. That may be enough for some people, but certainly not Carolyn Agnew.
Carolyn Agnew is a department assistant in strengthening institutions, works at UM-St. Louis, is a single mother, takes classes, and also performs as a stand-up comedienne.
Agnew has worked at UM-St. Louis for four years and is taking classes to earn her bachelor's degree in mass communication. With her bachelor's, she plans to work in radio and broadcasting.
Agnew enjoys the working-with-students-part most about her job.
"One good aspect is that I get to interact with the students," Agnew said.
Agnew has always been intrigued by radio broadcast shows.
"I've always liked radio because I like the combination of music and talk together," Agnew said.
Agnew began performing stand-up comedy in 1987 and stopped in 1992 to have a baby. In 1996, Agnew began to do stand-up again, only with new material, such as the motherhood experience.
Agnew has performed at the Funny Bone, the Comedy Forum, Harris-Stowe College, Truman State University, and Southeast Missouri State University.
"I look at the hypocrisies of life, and that's where my humor comes from," Agnew said.
When she first took the stage, Agnew used topics of men and sex.
Now she covers a broader area including politics, parenting, and sex.
"Comedy is an art form and when you take it to its lowest common denominator, it really trivializes it. My horizons have broadened. I will go from the range of political humor to all the way to sex. Sex is tried and true. You know people will laugh about that," Agnew said.
When Agnew walks on stage, she has learned that she has 15 seconds to grab the audience's attention. Agnew's routine may change as she as her experience differs, but Agnew never attacks a crowd.
"I don't want anyone waiting for me in a parking lot," Agnew said.
Agnew considers the newspaper the most reliable source for humor.
In addition to reading and staying current with events, she keeps a journal.
"I'm always writing . . . I love to write . . . [It's] an outlet for me," Agnew said.
Stand-up comedy has taught Agnew a few lessons of life.
Agnew said she has learned "what you're going through, everybody else is going through [and] when you do something you really like, you do it well."
Not just a single mother, student and worker, Agnew puts it all together when she walks out on stage.
"It's an incredible high" to make someone laugh," Agnew said. "It's such an adrenaline rush. I would say to anybody considering comedy as a career to really look at it as something you have to love because it can be very frustrating,"