Michelle Annett Roldan
Empowerment comedian Ernesto Gritzewsky, known as Ernie G, sat amid his audience of roughly 70 before his performance – to have intimate conversations and get to know them – Tuesday in Sara and Michael Abraham Campus Center with at least 70 attendees.
Gritzewsky is a so-called empowerment comedian, who said he found himself in a career where he is a role model to prove to students that they are not alone.
Beyond typical comedy, his performances inspire various emotions, as he shares his experiences, he said.
“They … come to my show expecting to laugh,” he said. “They end up laughing, then crying, then getting inspired, and then cracking up harder than they ever cracked up before.”
This mix of emotions bared out at the Tuesday performance.
The comedian addressed how college can be scary for new students and first-generation students.
This message is part of Gritzewsky’s mission to empower students by sharing that he too had a rough start in college. He said he ultimately saw the good in the bad, which motivated him to try harder and discover what he was capable of.
“When I graduated, it was one of the greatest moments of my life,” Gritzewsky said. “That’s a feeling that you all want to feel, like when you graduate from ULV, you want to be like ‘I did it!’ after all the challenges … especially the last couple of years.”
The real-life, relatable topics made the performance lively. Gritzewsky also encouraged the audience to take moments to reflect on the “people who love us.”
The audience related to him when he talked about overcoming obstacles, particularly those brought on by the pandemic. It shifted the mood in the room. The performance became interactive as students pointed out when they related to an issue or feeling the comedian brought up.
“I found the event really interactive,” said Jose Ford, sophomore rhetoric and communications major, who attended the event. “He was making jokes on the fly (and) had good crowd control.”
“He delivers the message of encouragement,” said Jacqueline Ochoa, sophomore business major and residence hall association president. “Especially for first-year first-generation students and Latino students.”
The University’s residence hall association sponsored the event.
“Not only did I feel like there was a lot of stage presence, there was also a lot of real communication about real-life things,” sophomore Cameron Grant said.
Michelle Annett Roldan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.