In the fall of 2000, a group of Emerson College students set up a table in front of their dining hall to hand out copies of the Hyena, the college’s humor magazine, to hungry students on their way to dinner. A tall, lanky sophomore picked up a copy of the magazine, then lingered, making uncomfortable small talk with a person sitting at the table. The conversation quickly withered to the point when most people would walk away.
If Ryan F. Corsaro, who was sitting at the table, is to be believed, the tall, lanky sophomore, aware that he was possibly making people at the table uneasy, tried to make light of the situation with a joke. He picked up a stack of the magazines and threw them on the floor, then let out an undecipherable roar. Someone at the table threatened to beat him up. The not-so-successful comedian shrugged his shoulders. “Oh, okay,” he said.