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Friday, November 21, 2014

Opinion

Focus on U delivers comedy for spring premiere

Matthew Ford

Published February 21st, 2014

Focus on U has returned.

The season got off to a big start with a lightly Valentine’s Day themed episode.

The quirks and jokes came at a rapid pace with the new host and announcer delivering the kind of witty banter we have come to expect from Focus On U. This season, the role of ringmaster, or host if you work inside the industry, goes to UW-River Falls student Rob Brecher. Brecher holds a confident swagger that seems to fit the changing mood of the show. That seems no more apparent in this episode than during the non-scripted interview sections.

This episode featured a slew of exciting guests. Wellness Challenge Coordinators Kevin Syverson and Brent Bundgaard came on the show to talk about the importance of physical activity and wellness, specifically the Wellness Challenge.

The Wellness Challenge is a four-week competition for individuals interested in maintaining their health, which they can do individually or as a team, generally of about 5-8 participants, where they focus on exercising, eating healthily and attending the Wellness Events.

These activities will earn the individuals or teams points. Each week an individual and team will be selected as winners and receive exciting prizes.

Syverson and Bundgaard’s excitement about this wellness opportunity seemed readily apparent. For more information about the Wellness Challenge you can go to the Student Health and Counseling page on the UWRF website.

For the second guest, stand-up comedian and UWRF student Nick Vanden Heuvel sat down with Rob and talked about how he got into stand-up comedy and what he thinks about the importance and increasing value of clean humor in a comedic environment very much geared towards an adult crowd.

He cited Jim Gaffigan as one of his inspirations. Vanden Heuvel also has the role as the chair of the Ethics Committee in Student Senate, a topic not touched on during the interview, but worth noting for the fact that his on-screen ID kept saying it.

Focus on U also features a News Desk segment, where we get updates on all the latest news from around the world and keeping in line with Focus on U’s comedic leanings, a side order of comedy to boot.

Last year Collin Kottke ran solo in this portion of the show. This season features a second anchor by Kottke’s side, UWRF student Kevin Holmes. The contrasting comedic values of the pair offered an interesting juxtaposition. I look forward to future News Desk segments.

The episode rounded off with Vanden Heuvel performing his stand-up comedy routine. True to form, his jokes came on rapid, a shotgun blast of one liners, situational references and oddball perspective humor, all while keeping the material relatively PG. Gauging the audience reaction to his humor, you get the feeling that Vanden Heuvel has honed his material quite a bit and if his Ethics Committee stint does not work out, he will have a comedic ace up his sleeve — or, perhaps, a joker?

You can check out this episode of Focus on U when it airs daily at 9 a.m., 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. on local acess channel 119 for on-campus residence and channel 19 for off-campus residents. You can also check out the latest episodes on the show’s Youtube channel, which is FocusOnUTelevision.

Matthew Ford is a student at UW-River Falls.

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