In the past four years, Annika Kastetter has left a profound mark on this campus through her community involvement. While many know her as student body president, Kastetter has demonstrated that she is more than just a representative voice. Despite the importance of her leadership role, Kastetter maintains that her involvement in student government does not take precedence over her other engagements. Kastetter’s comedy career has nontraditional roots. During her first year at Colorado College, she founded a satirical newspaper called Speculum with Sachin Mathur and Kenyon McFarlane ’15. Although it failed due to fiscal reasons, Kastetter realized her passion for comedy and went on to perform skits her sophomore year in Zachariah’s Nephews and write her own material for Women in Comedy, Eggs Overiesy.
According to Kastetter, “comedy, and Women in Comedy, is the most important thing that [she does] here.” For Kasetter, comedy is a worthy cause. She sees comedy as a cathartic release of emotional tension, both for her and for her audience. Comedy is especially important to the CC community following the turbulent Yik Yak situation last year. Kastetter stated her opposition to the purported “humor,” of the Yik Yak posts. She says they are “not funny and will never be funny.” She elaborated that in the aftermath of the events that transpired, “the impact of [real, nontargeting] comedy cannot be understated for both the individual and the community.” She believes that comedy is essential to maintain healthy community relationships.
On a more personal level, Kastetter has experienced the healing effects of comedy as well. “For me, when I first became involved with comedy my freshman year, it was one of the worst times of my life and it was a saving grace that I was able to find this thing that truly had such a positive and uplifting effect on me and the way that I viewed the way things were going around me,” said Kastetter. Her position as student body president has allowed Kastetter to cultivate her comedic skills and ability to perform. “My leadership style shapes my performance and my comedy,” said Kastetter. “I’ve interacted with so many people from so many groups that I have a better perception of what [they] may find funny and might respond positively to.”
Regarding the student body, Kastetter shares the importance of Women in Comedy on campus. Comedy is a male-dominated field, so much so that there are quotas for the number of women who need to be present in the writers’ room. Kastetter attributes this inequality to gender norms within the field of comedy; “women are raised to believe that they aren’t funny and that [comedy] is a man’s job.” This conception opens up a niche for women and non-binary students in the field, and on campus, to fill. Kastetter sees Women in Comedy as a revolutionary way of breaking gender norms, and liberating and empowering those involved. “By creating a group that is for women you are both breaking down those stereotypes by saying women are funny so much so that we have our own group, and encouraging women to participate because this is a space that is built for [them],” said Kastetter. “To me, it is the most important activity I do for that reason, because it is showing the strength that we [women and nonbinary folk] have through comedy, through being smart, through performing. We can have such an effect on people that they laugh so hard until they pee themselves.” Kastetter is one of many women at the heart of the movement to bridge archaic social boundaries and deconstruct stereotypes with something as simple as writing and performing sketch comedy.
Reflecting on her roles in comedy and student government on campus over the past four years, Kastetter feels content. While she will miss the community that has taught her so much and helped her grow as an individual, she is grateful to have had such a positive experience. “The number of people who I have talked to and cultivated meaningful relationships with [through my work] has helped me better understand them and what might make them giggle… and that’s important!”