Safe sex is no laughing matter

Melissa Dilley

“One day, it’s gonna happen to you,” Comedian Steve Byrne said. “Maybe not directly to you, but either you or one of your friends is going to have ask: ‘Why do I have a burning sensation?'”

Although Byrne, Comedy Central veteran and Kent State alumnus, was joking about sexually transmitted diseases before his show in the Rathskeller last night, everyone can agree they are no laughing matter when it happens to you.

Byrne made a trip back to Kent State with the Trojan Evolve Campus Comedy Tour, which is meant to educate students about safe sex and sexually transmitted infections.

In addition to the comedy show, from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m., Trojan tents were set up in Manchester Field with activities and prizes to spread the word about not spreading sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

In addition to free condoms, students could take an educational ride on the “Trojan Scream Machine,” a virtual IMAX roller coaster that has information at every turn and is complete with the signature Trojan pigs as riding mates.

Sophomore theater major Zach Reisig, who “rode” on the coaster, said the information Trojan posted throughout the ride wasn’t new, but it was a good reminder.

“It was a fun way to help reiterate the information,” Reisig said. “It will definitely help it to stay in my mind.”

Students who gave their ZIP code could receive free condoms and in turn take a promise to always use a condom. Tour manager Jimi Ellis said a ZIP code was required because students can go to the Trojan Web site and view a virtual map of the United States of America and see where people are practicing safe sex.

“We are trying to see how far we can spread the awareness of the sexual health crisis in America,” Ellis said. “This whole campaign is about helping people evolve into a responsible sexual partner.”

Byrne said you never know who you are going to get as a partner, especially when you are in college, which is one of the reasons he joined the tour.

“In college you’re going crazy and hooking up with all kinds of people,” Byrne said. “If you don’t know who they are, and even if you do, bring protection because you never know.”

Not only was Byrne attracted to the purpose of the tour, but he said he was also impressed by how the issue was presented.

“We don’t force feed you the information,” Byrne said. ” I’m just doing my own act, and great information is tied into the day. Students get to have a fun night out and get beneficial information.”

Although Bynre didn’t cater any of his jokes to sexual awareness, his fellow comedians Jordan Carlos and Julian McCullough did.

Carlos, best known as Stephen Colbert’s “black friend” from Comedy Central’s “The Colbert Report,” said he transformed his act to fit the event.

“My dad is an OB/GYN so we were both happy when I got the opportunity to perform with Trojan,” Carlos said. “Growing up with it, I have learned how important this topic is, and presenting it in a comical way and getting paid for it is icing on the cake.”

Contact on-campus entertainment reporter Melissa Dilley at [email protected].