SPEC Connaissance to bring SNL stars to campus

Writer Jason Sudeikis will speak, while other cast members will perform

· February 21, 2013, 12:00 am

If you never knew where your humerus was, SPEC’s going to help you find that funny bone.

On Tuesday, March 19, the Social Planning and Events Committee’s board is bringing comedian Jason Sudeikis to Irvine Auditorium as this semester’s Connaissance speaker. Sudeikis is an accomplished writer, actor, producer and comedian, having starred in last year’s “Horrible Bosses” and writing weekly for Saturday Night Live since 2003.

The Conaissance speaker event is part of a bigger series that SPEC is planning this month. On March 27, SPEC is bringing comedians Vanessa Bayer and Kate McKinnon of SNL and Nick Vatterott of Comedy Central to Harrison Auditorium for a comedy show in the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology. Bayer graduated from Penn in 2004 and was part of the all-female comedy troupe Bloomers.

“One of the things I see as great about [Sudeikis] is that he’s written for SNL for so long. SNL writers do a lot of the best screenwriting of our time,” College sophomore and Co-Director of SPEC Connaissance Gabriel Jimenez said.

SPEC decided on Sudeikis after a long process of surveying students and considering the past programming this year.

“We knew we wanted someone who was in the entertainment sector, because that’s the feedback we’ve been getting. I think we really got someone who fit the bill,” said Wharton junior and Connaissance Co-Director Gib Baltzer. “I guess the thought process was that we brought Arianna [Huffington], and we wanted to balance out a really political person with someone in the entertainment industry. They’ve been very well received.”

Jimenez added, “He came up pretty often in our mid-year surveys. Being as versatile as he is in an industry [will bring] an able discourse to Penn.”

Some students are excited about SPEC’s selection.

“Yeah, I’m down — I love SNL,” said Wharton senior Chris de la Fuente. “Plus, why would you miss a famous person?”

Wharton freshman Brendan Smith, who is a member of Punch Bowl — Penn’s humor magazine — is enthusiatic about SPEC’s choice. “That’s so legit! As someone interested in comedy writing, he’s the perfect guest, since he’s in the spotlight of that business,” he said. “I can’t believe they got him.”

“We looked at our annual and mid-year surveys that get sent out to the entire student body, and a vast majority of the students wanted a comedy show,” SPEC President Josh Oppenheimer said of the decision to bring in the comedians.

However, Sudeikis’ talk will not be a comedy show, but rather a discussion. Baltzer said, “He’s a versatile person, in comedy and movies, and SNL every week. So it’s going to be more about his personal journey.”

Additionally, students are free to submit questions to ask Sudeikis. According to Jimenez, one-third of the questions asked will be chosen from the student-submitted ones.

Baltzer added that they are considering having students submit questions through social media as well.

SPEC plans to flyer and ticket all the events in this series at the same time on Locust Walk so students will be able to purchase multiple tickets at once.

Tickets will be available online starting Feb. 21, and on Locust Walk starting Feb. 25.

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