Ferris student finds a funny place onstage


Photo by: Samantha Cavotta | Torch Photographer

As he prepares to graduate, Ferris plastics engineering senior Logan Dunsmore joked that he’d like to use a unique source as a reference on his job applications: famed comedian Nick Offerman.

“He told me — and I hate to toot my own horn — he said, ‘Hey, you’re a pretty good comedy writer.’ And I’m just like, ‘That’s all I needed. Can you write that down? I’d like to put that on resumes from now on,’” Dunsmore said.

Dunsmore, 22, has a list of experience vastly different from those of his peers. During his time at Ferris, he opened for two Ferris Homecoming Comedians: Offerman of “Parks and Recreation” in 2017 and Dave Coulier of “Full House” in 2018. Dunsmore has gained popularity at Ferris through his presence both onstage and online.

Dunsmore began pursuing comedy after graduating high school in 2015. The Houghton Lake native spent the summer living with his uncle in Columbus, Ohio, where he started performing at open microphone events at a rock and roll dive bar called The Shrunken Head.

During his first set, Dunsmore said he expected things to go well, as he was familiar with making his friends laugh. However, performing in front of strangers is a very different scene.

“When you’re out with friends, you have backgrounds. You have, oh, everyone knows that Joe is cheap and Beth wears Crocs. You have those. The pins are already there; you just have to knock them down. When you go and do stand up for the first time, you quickly realize you have to set those pins up yourself, then knock them down,” Dunsmore said.

Although he said he only received one laugh throughout his set, Dunsmore continued to attend open mics at various bars in various cities to practice his craft. By September 2017, he was comfortable enough to audition for his biggest gig yet: opening for Ferris Homecoming Comedian Nick Offerman.

During the audition, Dunsmore was competing against other Ferris students for the opportunity to open for the comedian. He said he felt confident that he would land the gig.

“Then they selected me for it, and then it was just endless panic up until the show with Offerman,” Dunsmore said.

Dunsmore spent the three weeks leading up to the show preparing his set and practicing at open mics in Grand Rapids and Traverse City. His nervousness even caused him to lose sleep as the performance approached.

However, once he stepped onstage in front of 1,600 people, his uncertainties disappeared.

“I knew the material, I knew all the beats, I felt prepared. And at that point, I’d almost put it on the energy of the crowd, really just alleviated the fear in the moment,” Dunsmore said.

It all came down to the first punchline.

“That’s scary when you start. That opening line is very telling, because if that doesn’t get a laugh, you’re in for a rough time,” Dunsmore said. “But it landed really well, and I was just flooded with endorphins. It was truly one of the greatest experiences I’ve ever had, because I worked really hard on the material. It was certainly a labor of love.”

Later in his set, Dunsmore told a joke that received a reaction he’d never before experienced: a sudden round of applause from the audience.

“It is humbling, honestly. Applause breaks are something my heroes get. It’s not something I get,” Dunsmore said. “But that was a truly incredible experience.”

As he headed offstage, feeling accomplished and proud of his set, Dunsmore received recognition from Offerman himself, a moment he wouldn’t soon forget.

“Once I got off, just little things like shaking Nick Offerman’s hand as he’s going on and I’m going off, and he kind of just whispers, ‘Hey, that was a good set.’ And that’s a really tremendous feeling because, you know, he’s a professional. He’s seen great comics and to receive an iota of praise from — that just filled me with joy,” Dunsmore said.

Dunsmore said he felt more valid as a comedian after opening for a prominent celebrity.

“It felt even better because now, there was a much greater degree of legitimacy to me doing standup in that I kind of had a serious credit now,” Dunsmore said.

However, Dunsmore’s time performing on the Williams Auditorium stage was not quite over. In September 2018, he was chosen once again to open for Dave Coulier, the Ferris Homecoming Comedian of the year.

Despite the success of his prior Ferris show, Dunsmore was ultimately not as happy with his opening performance for Coulier. Much of this lies in a contract he signed that limited him to clean comedy at a PG-13 level.

“The problem was, what they wanted, what that meant was very vague,” Dunsmore said. “I’m not a particularly dirty comic. But you know, I swear a lot, and while that seems like a very simple thing and while none of the swear words are critical to my jokes, the problem was I’d always sworn when I’d done the material, and so I developed my timing around that.”

Removing the profanity from his punchlines altered the timing on his set, causing Dunsmore to fall out of his rhythm and rush his set.

“I didn’t bomb by any means,” Dunsmore said. “It certainly wasn’t as strong as my Offerman set. It was still something I was proud of.”

Even offstage, Dunsmore is well-known at Ferris for his sense of humor. When he’s not performing in front of a crowd, he’s cracking jokes on his personal Twitter account.

“I like Twitter just because it’s kind of a testing ground for me,” Dunsmore said. “What’s nice is, it’s a very nice way for me to have an idea, immediately put it out there and depending on how well it does, I kind of get a sense for, ‘Is that a premise I could possibly explore onstage?’”

At press time, Dunsmore had over 900 Twitter followers. His tweets frequently receive a lot of attention, particularly from fellow Ferris students. However, Dunsmore doesn’t do it for the retweets.

“It’s really just a good creative outlet, and if I could make someone laugh during their day, that’s all I wish for. That’s all this really is. If I could make somebody’s day a little funnier, that’s certainly something I’m happy to do,” Dunsmore said.

Dunsmore’s comedic ways appear offstage and offline, as well. Dunsmore’s roommate, Ferris information security and intelligence senior Ashleigh Allen, said she experiences his sense of humor every day.

“Logan is a great guy who always has a joke on hand. We could be talking about the most random subject and it always ends with us bantering back and forth. I’m always laughing after a conversation with him,” Allen said.

Allen said she feels like “a proud pageant mom” when she watches Dunsmore perform.

“Logan really commands the stage whenever he performs. You don’t want to look away and miss the joke. Even when it’s a joke I’ve heard before, they always make me laugh just as hard,” Allen said.

Dunsmore’s father, Scott Dunsmore, agreed that his son appears comfortable when he performs his sets.

“As his father, I am surprised how relaxed he looks on stage. I am so proud of him because it takes a certain person to be able to put themselves out there like he does,” Scott Dunsmore said. “He always tries his best. That is a character trait that will serve him well throughout his life.”

Following his graduation in May, Dunsmore plans to move to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where he has already accepted a job in his field. Aside from his new career, he is excited to submerge himself in Milwaukee’s comedy scene and continue performing at open mics.

“That’s my plan as of right now: just go to Milwaukee, make some plastic parts and make people laugh,” Dunsmore said.

Although he would enjoy becoming a professional comedian one day, Dunsmore said he would be content if that never happens.

“I want to be the best comic I can be, and if that were to entail perhaps pursuing it professionally, if I got to the point to make a wage I could live on off of comedy, then yeah, I’d take that. I think most people would,” Dunsmore said. “That being said, if that opportunity never comes knocking on my door, it’s not going to deter me from doing standup, because frankly, I just love it. It’s a passion. It’s not a means to an end by any means.”

Dunsmore’s dream of fame is certainly not his primary motivation to perform.

“Really, as long as I can tell jokes to strangers, that’s all that matters,” Dunsmore said.