The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

The student news site of Marquette University

Marquette Wire

Stand-Up Marquette

Dennis Tracy
Photo by Helen Dudley
David Klinger and Grace Kilpatrick are the hilarious founders of Marquette’s newest stand-up comedy club, Stand-Up Marquette.

Two Marquette students walked into a bar. They weren’t there for drinks, free popcorn or dancing. That’s not really their style. Instead, David Klinger, a junior in the College of Communication, and Grace Kilpatrick, a sophomore in the College of Nursing, walked into Rounding Third Bar and Grill with the goal of starting a stand-up comedy club at Marquette.

Six months later, Stand-Up Marquette is an official group on campus, despite its humble beginnings as a shared passion of the comedy duo who met in New Orleans on the MARDI GRAS service trip.

“We were kind of like, ‘Oh, let’s make a club,'” Kilpatrick said. “We just grabbed a bunch of people that we knew that were funny and were interested.”

The process of starting an official club on campus was harder than they thought. It took them the entire fall semester for the administration to recognize their group, but they didn’t put their comedy shows on pause.

It was kind of underground the whole semester,” Klinger said. At first, it was just Klinger, Kilpatrick and a few other students that would gather to do stand-up at Rounding Third.

However, with the popularity of Marquette’s improvisation group the Studio 013 Refugees (also known as the Fugees), the question remained as to how Stand-Up Marquette would prove to differ from the improv group.

Yet Klinger and Kilpatrick stood their ground on the club’s formation, explaining how the stand-up’s pre-rehearsed style of comedy differed greatly from the Fugees. The co-presidents said Stand-Up Marquette was not created to compete with or replace the pre-existing student comedy group, but complement it.

“The first thing that I did when helping start the club with Grace was reach out to the Fugees and be like, ‘Hey, we’re not trying to have, like, a spirited rivalry of two comedy groups on campus,'” Klinger said. “We’re trying to, like, complement each other. And that’s actually come into fruition really well.”

Several members, in fact, participate both in Stand-Up Marquette and the Fugees, and comics from both groups can be frequently seen cheering, laughing and heckling at one another’s shows. These small, supportive crowds are loved by Stand-Up Marquette’s members, especially as the group slowly gains steam this year.

“It doesn’t have to be a big group,” Klinger said. “We just want to have people that are passionate about making people laugh.”

The group’s main venue, Rounding Third Bar and Grill, is far west of campus on the corner of 63rd Street and Bluemound Road. It provides a friendly home thanks to its inviting and recurring open mic comedy nights, giving Stand Up Marquette comics a chance to  to dip their toes in the water of stand-up comedy.

It was the setting for Stand-Up Marquette’s first official event as an official student organization. The club’s late-December Christmas show ended their road to becoming a club with a large audience and great energy Klinger still remembers well.

“It was just a great crowd, and everybody killed it, and that was kinda like, ‘Oh, wow, this is actually like a big deal,'” Klinger said. “So we’re really excited to see how it goes this semester.”

The group Klinger and Kilpatrick once imagined has come to include not only Marquette students but also supportive Milwaukee community members.

Jim Rauth, the coordinator of Rounding Third Open Mic Comedy in which Stand-Up Marquette regularly takes part, has been both performing and teaching stand-up for many years, yet he is still amazed by the talent he sees in Marquette’s young stand-up comics.

“As a whole, it blows my mind,” Rauth said. “I’ve put on some special shows, we’ve done some fundraisers for the community, and I actually put some of them in the lineup of those shows with some seasoned veterans.”

Katie Uttal, a freshman in the College of Arts & Sciences, said she was not only impressed but also inspired by Stand-Up Marquette members she saw perform at a Rounding Third Open Comedy night.

“Watching the Marquette kids, it was, like, really inspiring,” Uttal said. “It made me feel like I could do this. You know, I have funny stories to tell.”

Agreeing, Kilpatrick said, “Stand-up is just about telling stories, so really anyone can do it.” She and all other members of the group encourage anyone with interest to reach out to the club.

As the group continues to grow this year, Kilpatrick and Klinger are excited to see just where their cluster of comics will go. They hope to appear on the calendar of Late Night Marquette events in the near future but for now are focused on an on-campus show that will take place from 7:30-9 p.m. March 2 in the AMU Ballroom.

Until then, they can be found at Rounding Third Open Comedy nights, hard at work prepping sets during club practices or simply cracking jokes around campus. After all, they’re comics — it’s what they do.

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    Jim RauthFeb 7, 2018 at 6:50 pm

    Great job by the Marquette Wire, especially to Dennis Tracy, Noelle Douglass, and the empowering friend Hellen. They visited our weekly comedy show to do a story on some young brash brilliant and off the chain young talented funny people. And you did with awesome professionalism. First it’s the Wire, then it’s watch-out World. Anyone that wants watch a comedy show, they’re always free on Thursdays unless it’s a special event. The bar has drink & food specials. You can check out our calendar at and also inquire about of comedy courses there as well. Go MU!