MAB comedian to cheer up winter-weary campus

By Kat Glass

Contemplating an icy Chicago February does not bring smiles to most faces. The organizers on the Major Activities Board (MAB), however, think they might have panacea to those winter blues: a performance by Mitch Hedberg at Mandel Hall at 8 p.m. on February 13.

After last year’s successful turnout for Margaret Cho, MAB decided to hire another comedian. “We really wanted to bring a comedian for the winter, and Mitch’s name kept coming up,” said Erica Cerulo, a fourth-year in the College and chair of MAB. “A comedian is a fabulous and relaxing winter show for a stressed out student body that could definitely use a break on a Sunday night.”

Since the Sunday performance won’t have to compete with Friday and Saturday festivities, MAB organizers are looking forward to a large crowd.

Fourth-year in the College Mara Stankiewicz, MAB talent buyer and Maroon Voices Editor Emeritus, said that although MAB tried to hire Jon Stewart for the night, “some price conflicts arose at the last minute,” preventing the deal. Hedberg is not a disappointing second choice for MAB organizers: “We are very happy to have Mitch come, though, because we feel he is just as funny as Jon although he doesn’t quite have the same name recognition,” Stankiewicz said.

Hedberg’s appeal is in his unique routine, in which he arbitrarily jumps from one topic to another. On his website, he sells T-shirts that read “Quadruple Tree: A Mitch Hedberg Resort” and “remix + remix = normal.” He is the author of such one-liners as: “I used to do drugs. I still do, but I used to, too.” This quip is also attributed to Hedberg: “I wish I could play little league now. I’d be way better than before.”

MAB organizers expect this style to resonate with the defiantly uncommon Chicago student. “We feel his unique sense of humor is perfect for our quirky and diverse student body,” Stankiewicz said.

Cerulo also thinks Hedberg will be a Hyde Park hit. “Mitch’s humor appeals to a wide variety of people,” she said. “Everyone can relate to his act.”

Hedberg owes much of his success to his popularity with David Letterman. After Hedberg won first place at the “Just for Laughs” Montreal International Film Festival, Letterman booked him for The Late Show with David Letterman. The veteran comedian enjoyed the newbie so much that he even quoted Hedberg later on in the show. Hedberg has appeared on Letterman’s show 10 times.

Students might recognize Hedberg from his role as the Eagles road manager in the 2000 film Almost Famous. He wrote, directed, and stared in the independent film Los Enchiladas, which was screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 1999. His $3,000 check for winning the 1997 Seattle Comedy Competition helped fund this film.

Hedberg has had a number of television appearances. His boldness paid off when he personally pitched himself to MTV’s talent coordinator and secured a role in “Comikaze.” After this premiere television performance, Hedberg played in A&E’s “Comedy on the Road,” Comedy Central’s “Comedy Product,” and NBC’s “Comedy Showcase.”

MAB recruits big-name performers to entertain University students. Past highlights include Ben Folds, Elvis Costello, Eminem, Stereolab, Ryan Adams, Billy Joel, and the Roots.

Starting next Tuesday through Friday, University community members can buy discounted tickets in the Reynolds Club from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tickets cost $10 for University students and $13 for faculty, staff, and lab school students. Starting at 7 p.m. on the night of the show, tickets cost $13 for University students and $18 for faculty, staff, and lab school students.