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Staff by Day, Stand-Up Comic by Night

News Story

By day, University Relations' Marketing Writer/Editor Lance Pauker writes snappy copy for the University, but by night, he writes punchlines as a stand-up comic.

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Woo.
Woo who?
Don’t get too excited, this is just a knock, knock joke.

Alright, so maybe that joke wasn’t the best, but fear not; there’s someone on campus who is far funnier when it comes to humor and jokes. His name is Lance Pauker and he’s University Relations’ marketing writer/editor by day, and a stand-up comic by night.

When Pauker isn’t interviewing some of Pace’s most impressive students for success stories or crafting clever copy for posters, brochures, and newsletters, he can be found writing punchlines for jokes or running around the city doing stand-up nearly every night of the week. On average, he performs roughly 10 shows each week at both open mic nights and booked gigs. In one night alone, Pauker can perform as many as three or four shows, bouncing between Brooklyn, Manhattan, and Queens.

“I think it’s a really cool way to see the city. It takes me all over, I feel like I know the distinct smells of too many subway stations,” he says, admitting that he’s sampled his fair share of the Lower East Side’s dumplings along the way in between sets.

So, how does one get the courage to do standup in the first place? “I didn’t really know it was a thing you could do,” he says. “I’d known Jerry Seinfeld and other comedians and I just thought they made up what they said on the spot.” That is until he attended a friend’s comedy show about three and a half years ago, when it clicked: he could probably write good jokes.

Pauker first took a comedy class to cover the basics—“I googled ‘how to start doing comedy in NYC’ and a bunch of classes came up, so figured I’d start there,” he says—and then he was off performing his own shows. His first performance: at his brother’s apartment. Together with a friend, Pauker organized a show surrounded by friends. “It actually went over way better than I thought it would,” he says.

However, not every show can go off perfectly as planned. “I’ve done a good amount of shows that are what they call ‘ambush shows,’ when you’re at a restaurant or a bar and the people there don’t know that there’s a comedy show, and then it starts. Rarely does that go well,” he says. In fact, one time a group of people burst out into the “Happy Birthday” song in the middle of one of Pauker’s sets, birthday cake carried out and all. But, not surprisingly, Pauker is able to laugh it off.

At work, he’s not the office clown you might imagine. While he’s been asked multiple times by coworkers to tell a joke during their 9 to 5, he instead extends to them an offer to come see his standup act outside of One Pace Plaza, where he shouts jokes to passersby during his lunch break on Thursdays. Don’t worry, he’s just joking about that.

While he won’t give away his routine, he does share that his material involves something about his grandmother being the all-time best cigarette smoker, and something about psychopathic coffee drinkers.

“It’s a combination of observations and yourself. I guess it’s how you see the world, really,” he says about what comprises the formula for a good joke. And when the observations are right and Pauker is inspired to write a joke, he jots it down where he can—in a notebook, on his cell phone, even on sticky notes at his desk.

And if you’re wondering if writing comedy helps with his writing at Pace, the answer is yes. His writing clever copy, and humor in part, helped this relatively recent hire secure his current position in University Relations. But let’s cut to the chase. You probably want a really good laugh out of this. So here goes nothing:

Knock, knock.
Who’s there?
Lance.
Lance who?
Lance Pauker tells better jokes than this one at the Village Lantern in Greenwich Village every Monday and Wednesday night. Go check him out!

Are you a Pace faculty or staff member with a fun hobby, interest, part-time job, or passion? Know someone that fits the bill? E-mail opportunitas@pace.edu to share your story with us and other faculty and staff!