Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Diversity Tour to bring three comedians to campus

Thursday, October 28, 2010

NBC's Stand-up for Diversity Comedy Tour will be making a stop at Southeast Missouri State University on Wednesday, Nov. 3 thanks to Student Activities Council. Comedians Mal Hall, Erik Rivera and Fahim Anwar will be featured on stage for the night's performance.

Joanna Shaver, SAC faculty adviser said the organization had their first encounter with these comedians at the activities conference they attended in the spring. Eight comedians performed in front of the many organizations at the conference. SAC was then allowed to choose who they thought would best to perform on Southeast's campus.

Shaver said she had heard about the tour before, and this year decided to add it into SAC's schedule of events.

"It's the first time we liked the comedians and the timing worked out well," said Shaver. "We wanted a larger comedy show. Typically, we just have one comedian [come at a time], but with the Diversity Tour we can bring three comedians to campus."

This is the seventh year that NBC has held the Stand-up for Diversity Comedy Tour. The purpose of the tour is to bring together comedians of diverse backgrounds and give them a push toward their professional career. NBC holds auditions and live showcases in three to five cities each year to present the top talent of that area.

While "Stand-up for Diversity" may have an educational ring to it, SAC Comedy Coordinator Kayla Brannam is positive that's not what the comedians have planned. "I think every comedian puts a little about their culture in their acts, but I wouldn't necessarily call it an educational show," said Brannam. Brannam said that the comedian's performances at the showcase included jokes about their cultural background, stereotypes, media, technology and interracial dating. The organization has not heard exactly what the comedians will be discussing when they are on campus next week, but more than likely these same topics will arise.

Liz Vinson, SAC president, said she wanted students to know the tour isn't necessarily about diversity.

"It's OK to be different and be able to laugh about being different, but at the same time you need to respect those differences," Vinson said.

According to Brannam, SAC has several acts coming this semester from the showcase and next semester the organization will be bringing an additional comedian from the showcase as well. "One of my goals as comedy coordinator this year is to get a big attendance at our events, so I've been trying to mix it up with who we get to come," said Brannam.

The Stand-up for Diversity event next week will spotlight three men from different ethnic backgrounds. In September SAC brought female comedian Jessica Kirson to Rose Theatre.

Hanna Mercer, Southeast sophomore, said she attended Jessica Kirson's performance and she hit on the diversity theme quite a few times during her act. Even though Mercer admitted that she wasn't a fan of Kirson's pointing out people in the audience and joking around about minority groups, she did say that the performance seemed to go pretty well.

"Her over-exuberant facial expressions and gesticulations made the entire audience explode with laughter throughout her entire show," said Mercer.