The Willy Wonka of Comedy
Ambitious University at Albany student Jacob Wasserman is about to turn 21, graduate a year early from college, and pursue a career in comedy.
Last year Wasserman, who spends his time studying finance at UAlbany, reached a turning point in his life. He had always expressed a lifelong dream to be on Saturday Night Live and realized that at age 19 there was nothing stopping him from pursuing his passion.
“I would rather know and fail then die and not know at all,” expressed the young comedian.
Over his spring break from college in 2016, Wasserman decided to start devoting his time to securing a comedic internship in the New York City area.
Wasserman found a home as a comedy-writing intern at the legendary Gotham Comedy Club in New York City. That summer Wasserman took a comedy course offered by Gotham’s talent coordinator, Andrew Engel, and it culminated in Wasserman’s first comedic set on stage in front of an audience.
Wasserman’s material is sourced directly from his experiences of growing up on Long Island. His mom, dad, and older brother Zachary are all extremely supportive of his venture into the comedic world. His parents come to all of his shows at Gotham and often bring dozens of their friends in tow.
Wasserman’s comedic routine mirrors his personality. It is clean, lighthearted, good-natured, and funny.
“I don’t put on a show. I don’t put on any characters. I’m not vulgar. I just talk about my childhood and my relationship with my parents and my brother. There’s humor in everything, it’s just the way you see the world,” he said.
Wasserman gained inspiration from classic comedians such as Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David. He also enjoys John Mulaney, Andy Samberg, Nick Kroll, Sebastian Mancuso, and even comedy-rapper Lil Dicky.
As far as his comedic career, Wasserman is dreaming big. Ultimately he could see himself doing something similar to Jimmy Fallon one day.
Despite Wasserman’s venture into the comedic world, he remains a traditional procrastinating college student. Although he tries to write comedic material daily, the bulk of his material is written the night before a performance.
“If I don’t sweat, I’m not writing,” Wasserman shared.
In terms of knowing if his material is funny, the comedian just tries to make himself or his mom laugh.
Through his growth as a comedian this year, Wasserman has discovered the artisanship that goes into comedy writing.
“When I watch comedy specials I don’t even laugh anymore,” he said. “I think about how hard that guy worked at getting the perfect amount of words, in the perfect amount of time. And how he uses his body to deliver his comedy in a way that other comedians necessarily can’t.”
Currently, Wasserman still performs in the city during breaks from school.
The Long Island native hopes to inspire fellow UAlbany students to pursue their dreams and to not put them off. He feels that in 2017, there are so many outlets for one to achieve success.
At UAlbany, Wasserman is heavily involved in the school’s alumni network as a Purple and Gold Student Ambassador. Ready to graduate, Wasserman has been eagerly applying to various comedic opportunities, as well as financial positions.