Alumnus John Caparulo talks wedgies, Water Street and Ohio winter weather


John Caparulo, a Kent State alumn, performs in the Kent State Ballroom, January 31. Photo by Chelsae Ketchum.

Caitlin Potts

Decked out in his signature navy and gold Kent State tee, comedian and Kent State University alumnus John Caparulo took the stage and reminisced about his school days.

“The football team made a real ballgame this year?” he said. “When I was here, I didn’t even know we had a team.”

Undergraduate Student Government sponsored the event that began at 8:00 p.m. in the Student Center Ballroom. Assistant Director Donna Carlton stood at the entrance to allow access to more than 600 audience members.

Before the show, a long line of students wrapped around tables outside. The line started forming shortly before 6:00 p.m., even though the doors did not open until 7 p.m.

Once the doors opened, students took their seats and talked excitedly about the upcoming performance.

Elizabeth Holton, USG director of programming, walked on stage to announce upcoming events such as FlashFest for the spring 2013 semester.

Cleveland-based comedian Bill Squire opened for Caparulo with jokes about Northeast Ohio sports teams. The crowd hollered and cheered at his anti-Steelers stance.

At 8:20 p.m., Caparulo began his routine.

Students in the audience cheered when he talked about the Ohio weather and that he couldn’t believe he came back.

“The cold weather is a bitch,” Caparulo said. “I think I probably would’ve gotten a better education, if it wasn’t for that shit.”

Jokes about sports continued when he discussed unsuccessfully throwing the first pitch at a Tampa baseball game.

“I would’ve been cool with if, if they’d booed me,” he said. “But no, they had to be supportive like I’m there for some Make A Wish Foundation.”

Caparulo recalled his childhood bully confronting him after a show, and the audience continued to laugh.

“It was like, ‘Great, I’ve missed you! I haven’t had a good wedgie in years!” Caparulo said.

Caparulo went on to talk about his pet basset hound, Barney. He compared the pound to a prison.

“What if [a pound dog] has issues?” Caparulo said. “What if he wakes up screaming, or I wake up and I find him braiding my hair?”

When Caparulo said he married his wife at Water Street Tavern, the audience cheered and became rowdy when he talked about his sex life.

“I have one friend who’s like ‘Have fun having sex with one woman for the rest of your life.’ And I’m like, ‘Well…that would improve my numbers,’” Caparulo said.

Students attending the show connected with Caparulo’s local tie-in.

“I’ve seen him on Chelsea Lately a few times,” Lena Rhodes, freshman pre-speech pathology major, said. “He always wears those Kent State shirts.”

Cory Smith, senior business management major, heard about the show on and prepared all day for the event.

“He’s actually one of my favorite comedians,” Smith said. “I’ve been watching his stand-up all day long just getting pumped for this show.”

Caparulo was born in East Liverpool, Ohio, and he was a member of Phi Sigma Pi at Kent State. In 1997, he started performing stand-up comedy in clubs around Pittsburgh and Cleveland.

Caparulo is well-known for his role as a regular panelist on “Chelsea Lately.” He’s performed on shows like “Blue Collar Comedy: The Next Generation” and “Comedy Central Presents.”

Currently, Caparulo is filming “Biggest Movie Flops” and “Greatest Animated Movie Characters.” They are set to air on the TV Guide Network in Spring 2013.

Contact Caitlin Potts at [email protected].