Stand-up comedian and “Daily Show” contributor Lewis Black DRA ’77 will perform in Woolsey Hall next February as part of an expanded Winter Arts Festival, Yale College Council Vice President Steve Engler ’07 said Tuesday.
Black’s show and a number of new events this semester will be funded by increased revenues from the Student Activities Fee, to which 80 percent of the student body contributed this year, up from 63 percent in 2005. While some students said they are excited about Black’s performance, other said they are still disappointed that the Fall Show — at which the YCC initially intended him to appear — was cancelled.
Black will perform in February because scheduling conflicts prevented him from coming to campus on October 12, when the Fall Show was originally scheduled to take place, Yale Student Activities Committee Chair Mike Lehmann ’08 said. The show will be part of the third annual Winter Arts Festival, hosted by YSAC.
YCC Secretary Zach Marks ’09 said Black’s national profile and ties to Yale made him an attractive choice for the Fall Show’s main comedy act.
“Lewis Black is a pretty big name right now,” Marks said. “He’s excited to come here, and I think students are going to be excited to go see him perform.”
YSAC will sponsor a few new campus-wide activities this semester in place of the Fall Show, including a chicken-wing eating contest during the Yale-Princeton football game and a “Mr. Yale” pep rally featuring 12 contestants from each residential college.
Marks said the increase in voluntary $50 Student Activities Fee contributions will make it possible to host the numerous events. The fund raised $209,950 this year, an increase of over $30,000 from last year.
“I think this is an indication of the success we had last year with events like Gunther,” he said. “Students are buying into the idea of a large Student Activities Fund, and they’re looking forward to more events like that.”
This semester, the YCC is also organizing biweekly movie nights in Ezra Stiles College and is planning to rent out screens at Criterion Cinemas on Nov. 3 for the premier of “Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan.”
Engler said he thinks the introduction of these new events makes up for the loss of the popular Fall Show, and the timing of Black’s performance is good because fewer activities are planned for the winter months.
Hannah Friedman ’08, who has seen Black perform on HBO and Comedy Central, said she is excited about the choice.
“I think he’s very funny, I think he’s a great political commentator,” she said. “I never went to the Fall Show before, so I don’t think I’ll miss it. I don’t really care that it’s in February.”
But Sarah Kellner ’08 said despite lackluster Fall Shows in previous years, she will miss having a performance in the fall. She said she thinks the Mr. Yale pep rally is an inadequate placeholder.
“I don’t think it should replace the Fall Show,” Kellner said. “I think that it’s a very different sort of activity than the Fall Show is, and there is a different crowd … I’m kind of bummed that we’re not having one.”
Black is the longest-serving member of “The Daily Show” cast and has appeared in several movies including “Man of the Year,” which was released last Friday. His “Back in Black” segment on “The Daily Show” — which has been airing since 1996 — features satirical news reporting on stories that he says “fall through the cracks.” He is also the author of the autobiographical “Nothing’s Sacred,” which hit shelves in 2005.
Last year’s Fall Show featured Ed Helms from “The Daily Show” and Saturday Night Live cast member Horatio Sanz.
Neil Chatani ’08 said he did not find Sanz’ performance entertaining last year, but he thinks Black will be an improvement.
“Hopefully he’ll be better than last year’s show, which was a letdown,” Chatani said. “Black’s style is like Ed Helms’, so I think he’ll do well.”