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Humber students rack up awards, scholarships

Josh Saltzman says he’s goofy and because of this, a career in comedy is right for him.

Josh Saltzman says he’s goofy and because of this, a career in comedy is right for him.

“I just loved making people laugh,” says Saltzman, a graduate from Humber College’s creative writing program. “You can get away with so much if you’re a comedian.”

And he’s being recognized for it.

Saltzman and his partner, Laura Cilevitz, won the 2008 Tim Sims Encouragement Award — an award presented to promising comedians or troupes — for their comedy piece Seven Minutes in Heaven.

The team won a chance to write, produce and star in their short comedy that’ll be broadcast on The Comedy Network this year. They’ve also won $5,000, which they’ve decided will go toward covering travel expenses and admissions into comedy festivals.

Seven Minutes in Heaven is based on a couple, Greg and Danielle, who are totally in love, yet have a dysfunctional relationship. Through this, the duo teaches relationship lessons.

Saltzman says the piece was inspired by an old 1970s comedy show, Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, as well as past relationships with bits directly from Cilevitz’s ex-boyfriends.

That’s not to say that Cilevitz’s the only one lending inspiration.

Cilevitz says Saltzman motivated her to study comedy at Humber College.

“He talked highly about it (Humber College) and … he’s so talented,” she says. “I thought, ‘Really, I can go to college and study comedy.’ It just sort of seems like how I got to see this.”

And it doesn’t stop there. For a career, they both fell into unexpectedly, this has been a big break. Both of them plan to continue working toward making their careers a success.

Meanwhile, another Humber student, Jonathan Challoner, is working his way up. The 21-year-old trumpet player won $1,000 from the 2008 IODE Ontario Scholarship in Music Performance Award.

The Vancouver native says he took to music quickly and it has become his medium to meet others.

“It seemed like communicating through playing,” says Challoner. “It really worked for me and that’s when I thought that this is something I could do for the rest of my life.”

He came to school specifically to Toronto because he says there isn’t as much of a musical community back home. With him graduating this year, he’s still got a long way to go.

“Well, I’m going to over the next few years try and promote my own work and my own bands,” says Challoner. “This scholarship will really help for I’m thinking of doing a masters degree in jazz performance at York (university).”

As for how Humber feels about its students, Joe Kertes, the dean at the school of creative and performing arts, says he’s proud.

“It’s the most gratifying thing of all because it’s not enough to say you have tremendous programs,” says Kertes. “We are making sure that they are competing with the best and they can keep up with the best.

These three are examples of winners.”

 
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