Comedy Central stand-up comedian Mike Birbiglia will be the main performer at this year’s Fall Show, Yale College Council president Rebecca Taber ’08 confirmed Sunday.
Birbiglia, whose performance will be part of the Comedy Central Live Tour, was chosen from various candidates after YCC officials looked at responses in polls and students’ comments on the Yalestation Web site about the performers they hoped to see at the Fall Show, Taber said. The Yale Student Activities Committee decided to lower ticket prices this year in order to attract more students, YSAC Chair Thomas Hsieh ’08 said.
Taber said the decision to bring Birbiglia — who is not a household name — to campus was the result of lukewarm reviews of past acts.
“One or two years ago they brought Horatio Sanz, who was a big name, but his act was terrible,” she said. “This year we’re bringing someone who has gotten fantastic reviews from the shows of his current tour and who got a lot of positive student feedback.”
YSAC has also made additional changes to draw more students to the Fall Show. This year’s ticket price for Yale College students will be $6, half of last year’s $12 price tag. Graduate student tickets are $12 since they do not pay the student activities fee, Hsieh said.
He said the lower prices are a reflection of YSAC’s attempts to provide students with more shows featuring up-and-coming acts.
“The price is half of what it was last year because we’re not going after huge names like Lewis Black,” Hsieh said. “The cost to students isn’t as large because we want to have an emphasis on good performances [but also] more shows.”
Birbiglia appears to be aware of his lack of renown at Yale. In his official Web site blog entry dated Oct. 3, the comedian quotes from a News article of September 28 about his upcoming performance, in which Yalies express their doubts about whether or not they will attend the Fall Show and wonder why more famous comedians were not chosen to participate. Although his responses to the quotations are somewhat sarcastic, Birbiglia promises he will not disappoint.
“I’m still planning to come to your school and I’m going to put on the best show I can,” Birbiglia wrote on his blog. “A great man once said, ‘Just because you don’t know me, doesn’t mean I’m not awesome.’ ”
But Birbiglia is not unknown to all Yalies. Reuben Barrientes ’10 responded on the comedian’s blog saying that although he wanted to see other acts, he knows Birbiglia will be entertaining, and he hopes the comedian will feel welcome at Yale.
Colin Watson ’10 said he has watched Birbiglia on television and thinks the show will be worth attending.
“I like him, so I’m probably going to the show,” Watson said. “When he does jokes, he talks in this really calm voice which makes them even funnier.”
One other comedian, whose name has not been announced, will also perform at the show, in addition to two student comedians who were chosen at auditions held Sept. 29 and 30 — Roberto Velez ’08, who won Yale’s Last Comic Standing competition last year, and Kris Baxivanos ’10. Hsieh said he is pleased that Comedy Central Live was allowing students to perform along with Birbiglia.
“Usually when you get bigger names like Lewis Black, he wouldn’t let students perform,” Hsieh said. “But being able to work with great people and with Comedy Central was great. They’re very willing to have students perform for the huge crowd in Woolsey.”
Taber said the YCC has worked hard to make this year’s show entertaining so that it will draw in more people.
“We’ve been planning this since we’ve been elected, so we’re really excited,” Taber said. “I think it’s going to be a great show.”
Birbiglia’s CD “Two Drink Mike” is included in Monday’s Top 100 CDs in the category “Poetry, Spoken Word & Interviews” on Amazon.com.