Cornell University: ILR comics describe their motivation for joining Humor Us! troupe

Humor Us! is one of many sketch comedy troupes on campus, but with a caveat: it is mostly made up of ILRies.

Noah Leety ’24 and Noah Diamond ’25 are just two of the ILRies who are in it. They meet weekly with the group to pitch and write new sketches. “While it was very scary at first to be bringing sketches weekly, it forces you to be vulnerable and get better at writing,” Diamond said.

Weekly Humor Us! meetings simulate a typical writers’ room, where they share sketches, give feedback and vote on which sketches make it into their live shows. You can see some of them on their Instagram page.

Leety’s sketches touch on “everyday things” such as TikTok trends. Diamond explains his sketches as “inspired by pop culture but to an absurdist level.” Regardless of the topic, Leety thinks that the skills taught in ILR helped them embrace the process. “ILR’s curriculum focuses on the writing process, which includes constantly revising your work. Those skills are invaluable and definitely part of the reason ILRies appreciate the comedy process a lot more.”

“Humor Us has definitely been my favorite experience at Cornell. It’s taught me that failing is okay and necessary. I don’t think I would have done it without the freedom of ILR, which is what makes the program so special. I feel like there’s a place for everyone, within ILR, which is really unique,” said Leety, who transferred to ILR from the University of Scranton because of his interest in unions.

Leety grew up surrounded by local union conflicts, and became intrigued by the complex nuances of the union-management relationship. He is minoring in film, while Diamond is pursuing a minor in Jewish Studies. Leety’s interest in ILR stems from his passion for sports management and psychology. His courses introduced him to contract bargaining and conflict resolution, both of which he sees as vital to his future career in sports management.

Humor Us, Leety said, has given him a community and a way to destress, and helped build self- esteem skills and the confidence to do stand-up comedy. “Humor Us has been so much more than an after school activity; it’s given me my closest friends and support group.”

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