RCBC Student Comedian Harrison Brown Considers Career in Food Science
Tuesday, Apr 30, 2019

Harrison Brown standing behind microphone

For Rowan College at Burlington County (RCBC) student, Harrison Brown, the phrase “art imitates life” is somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy. Through his comedy, Harrison writes what he knows. His jokes revolve around school, summer jobs and even his life on the autism spectrum.

Harrison’s comedy is so engaging, in fact, that he defeated more than a dozen students with his routine to take first place at RCBC’s 2018 Student Life Talent Show, which was coincidentally held in April, National Autism Awareness Month.

“I wasn’t expecting to be in the top three, let alone win,” Brown said. “My heart skipped a couple beats when they announced I had won first place.”

Life with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) may not seem like a laughing matter, but Brown says he is just “wired a little differently.” He also said it helps to find humor in everyday life, and it doesn’t hurt that he has an incredible capacity to remember jokes.

The Cherry Hill resident and Cherry Hill East graduate has been honing his comedic skills since elementary school. As it turns out, comedy also runs in Harrison’s family, as his father is a comedian.

“I wanted to tag along with my dad to his gig, and he jokingly said I could come along if I would get on stage too. He was only joking, but I took him up on it,” said Brown.

For the past five years, Brown has also branched out into the community by participating in open mic nights and a few professional local shows.

“I love commanding an audience with laughter, and it helps that the world is all yours for five minutes,” he said.

In addition to being equipped with a great memory for jokes, Harrison is hyperlexic (a syndrome characterized by a child’s precocious ability to read) and was reading books by the time he was just three years old.

Brown hasn’t decided on a major at RCBC yet, but he is leaning toward chemistry. After earning his associate degree, he is considering transferring to a four-year school where he can study food science.

“I’m obsessed with nutrition,” he explains. “I read ‘Eat This, Not That’ and I’m really into healthy food.”

He admits his “tastes” have changed over the years. For instance, now he listens to heavy metal, mostly the band Disturbed, but when he was younger, loud noises really bothered him. He also didn’t like crowds, but now he is performing his own comedy on stage in front of large audiences.

He attributes the changes to becoming accustomed to a “new normal.” His parents also arranged for therapy, including occupational therapy to help refine his motor skills at a young age because of his ASD. Harrison also found the help he needed at RCBC.

“The Testing Center, tutoring, Office of Student Support - have all been very helpful,” said Brown.

He likes his classes at RCBC so far, especially the math and sciences, but he says he doesn’t have a plan set in stone for his future. Although he is unsure of the path he will take, it is undoubtedly paved with some great new material.

Harrison's story is part of RCBC's 50 stories for 50 years. In honor of the college's 50th anniversary, RCBC is profiling students, faculty, administrators, alumni and the college community. Anyone interested in being featured can contact rcbcnews@rcbc.edu. To follow along on social media, use #RCBC50Stories.