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Comedian show still a goal for ASUA

Jerry Seinfeld and Robin Williams
Candidates for campus comedy
By Jennifer Amsler
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday, February 17, 2005
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Chances of finding a high-profile comedian to perform this semester are slim, with student leaders running into obstacles, including scheduling conflicts.

The Associated Students of the University of Arizona wanted a comedian to entertain students, which they originally intended to happen sometime this week, but student leaders are having difficulty securing talent to perform this semester.

Fernando Ascencio, the ASUA Speakers' Board director, said they are still pursuing some of the nation's top comedians for a comedy show before the semester ends but "the possibility keeps decreasing."

Ascencio said with only 2 1/2 months left of the semester, ASUA is in a time crunch to find a comedian who will sell tickets and appeal to students.

ASUA's top comedian choices, Robin Williams and Dave Chappelle, are both busy with other projects, and their time is too limited to come to the UA this semester, Ascencio said.

Chappelle is busy filming for "Chappelle's Show" but is a possibility for entertainment in the fall, Ascencio said.

He said he was close to securing a deal with Chappelle, but the two dates he had available fell on spring break and Spring Fling, making a visit impossible.

Williams is busy with an animated film and had no availability that coincided with the university's schedule, Ascencio said.

Ascencio said ASUA worked diligently to secure an act for the comedian show but negotiations took longer than expected.

"The entertainments industry is constantly changing," he said. "We feel confident we can find a date with someone students want."

Shortly before winter break, ASUA voted to bid up to $150,000 to bring Robin Williams, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Ellen DeGeneres or Adam Sandler to the UA.

In December, Ascencio said he hoped to book one of the comedians before the beginning of the spring semester.

Sara Birnbaum, ASUA executive vice president, said a show will happen sometime this semester but ASUA's main concern is to ensure the show will be filled to at least 60 percent capacity.

"In order to have a show, we need to be confident we can sell seats in a venue," she said.

ASUA needs to ensure the money from a maximum $150,000 bid can be compensated through revenue from ticket sales.

Austin Stimes, an undeclared sophomore, said the concept of providing a comedy show for students is a good idea, but if ASUA wants a high student turnout, they need to be selective in whom they choose.

"If you get someone good enough, they could sell out a couple of shows," he said.

Stimes said when a popular movie comes to Gallagher Theater, students flock to the Student Union Memorial Center, and usually, all of the shows sellout.

The ASUA Senate will vote next week to add two names to the list of prospects in an attempt to find a well-known comedian before the semester ends.

Katie Corbell, a physiological sciences freshman, said Chappelle would be her top choice for on-campus entertainment because she thinks he is hilarious.

ASUA's efforts are important because all students want more popular entertainment in Tucson, she said.

"Students should experience more than just school," Corbell said.

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