By Katie Coyne
County College of Morris hosted an open mic day Thursday, Oct. 12 in the Student Community Center where students followed comedian Gabriel Saleem’s keynote act to demonstrate their talents in areas including stand-up comedy, poetry, rapping, singing, storytelling, and beatboxing.
Saleem’s jokes have been selected for Stand-up NBC and NBC’s Late Night Program. The Student Center was filled with smiling and laughter during his act.
Saleem is from North Carolina and graduated from New York University as a psychology major.
After Saleem’s act, CCM students took the stage and performed.
“For the open mic we’re just doing anything that students want to perform,” said Angela Galvis, a CCM business administration major and treasurer of the Student Activities Programming Board.
The SAPB is in charge of all events at CCM, such as September’s Welcome Back Bash and the upcoming Halloween Party Tuesday, Oct. 31 from 12:30 p.m. to 2:00 p.m. in the student center. All events hosted by the SAPB are free.
Students can sign up for events the day of, but they are also encouraged to sign up in advance.
“We do a table event,” Galvis said. “A table event is what our club does to promote. We do one every Tuesday to promote the event.”
Andreas Loizou, a digital media major at CCM, performed a comedy act in a style made up of dry humor and self-deprecation. He said his inspirations include comedians such as the late Bill Hicks and Carl Briar.
“It was great; there were a variety of talents,” Loizou said. “It was nice to see everyone come out.”
Johan Ruiz, a CCM alumni who majored in liberal arts, performed a piece of slam poetry.
“After listening to so many artists, I realized that there are no rules when it comes to speaking your peace,” Ruiz said. “Perhaps the only rule is to spread love.”
Ruiz said he started writing verses in high school and is inspired by many different musical genres including jazz, hip-hop, soul, and salsa. His pieces that he performed were called “MC (Master of Ceremony) Teacher” and “Speak Your Peace.”
“MC Teacher” was about what being an emcee means to him.
“You have to keep the people interested, so you have to be an intellect; you have to be centered; you have to be deeper than the surface,” Ruiz said.
“Speak Your Peace” was inspired by an open mic series hosted by The Peace Poets, a group of five emsees out of Bronx, New York.
“The lyrics in the piece are just my eyes reflecting the world through my pen,” Ruiz said.