By ELIZA DAVIES
Under the blinding stage lights, eight contestants competed in UT’s Got Talent on Oct. 12, but one student prevailed. Quintin Reynolds, a freshman athletic training major, charmed the crowd in Reeve’s Theater with his standup comedy act, winning both titles of the competition: the judge’s decision and the audience’s in the text-to-vote category.
Reynolds first made his standup debut back home in Rhode Island. When Student Productions sent out emails requesting participants for the event, Reynolds found his second chance to do standup in front of an audience.
“It was the right motivation for me to write and get out here and practice some more,” Reynolds said. “It was a great opportunity.”
With aspirations of becoming a professional comedian, Reynolds was subject to disapproval from those around him when they realized he was not joking about building his career around his ability to make others laugh.
“I was pretty committed to stand up comedy and people supported me at first, but when they figured out I was serious they were a little skeptical about it,” Reynolds said. “That threw me off a little bit, but I had to power through it and prove them wrong and prove myself right.”
The contestants’ performances were judged based on five different criteria: theme, enthusiasm, professional/appropriate attire, crowd response, and creativity. Sara Balzer, a senior elementary education major and president of Student Productions, served as one of four judges on the panel, and noted that Reynold’s originality and engagement with the audience acted as the most influential factors in her vote.
“I listened a lot for the crowd, because it wasn’t just me who was judging. It was also the students judging too,” Balzer said.
Reynolds stood out among his competitors as the only comedian in the show.
“I think in a lot of talent shows there’s not really stand-up comedy, so I was really surprised — pleasantly surprised,” said Brittney Richards, a freshman biology major who attended UT’s Got Talent. “He was really awesome.”
The other seven contestants shared their musical talents with the judges and audiences. Four contestants sang well known melodies from pop culture, three performed originally written songs, and one rapped the lyrics to Eminem’s song, “Rap God.”
In addition to building his future career as a professional stand up comedian, Reynolds has plans to try out for the school’s track team and is currently pledging for the Sigma Chi fraternity.
“I’m an athletic training major, but want to be a standup comedian. I came here so my parents would love me,” Reynolds said with a chuckle.
Claiming to have always had a sense of humor, Reynolds decided to go the standup route when he was not sure of what he wanted to do as a profession.
“I’ve always looked up to standup comedians. Brian Regan was probably the first one I ever really got into, and he’s just super inspirational,” Reynolds said. “I just remember seeing him and saying, ‘I want to do that.’”
Reynolds explained that although Brian Regan is his biggest inspiration, his comedy stands in a different genre.
“You kinda need to listen to what I’m saying in order to get the jokes whereas people I respect, like Brian Regan and Robin Williams, are all over the place. They’re animals. They get laughs after laughs after laughs, and that’s something I could never accomplish, but I’m okay with it because my thing is a little bit different,” Reynolds said.
Reynolds encourages other students to stop at nothing when chasing their dreams.
“If you’re passionate about something and you actually want to do something, go out and chase it,” Reynolds said. “Don’t let other people tell you what you can and can’t do. Anything is accomplishable.”
Eliza Davies can be reached at email@example.com.