The Daily Gamecock

Comedians top Carolina Productions spring calendar

Shows, performers total nearly $100,000


Two big-name network comedians are heading up Carolina Productions’ nearly $100,000 calendar this semester.

Seth Meyers of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” and Nick Offerman of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” are the semester’s headliners, as well as its highest paid acts, together accounting for more than half of the announced spending.

“SNL’s” head writer and “Weekend Update” host Meyers will get $35,000 for his March 28 appearance, according to CP President Erik Telford. Offerman, known for playing the character Ron Swanson on the hit comedy show, will be paid $20,000 for his performance on Feb. 5.

Telford expects the two comedians will be the main attractions for students this semester, adding that comedy events have been some of CP’s more popular events over the past couple of years.

“It’s difficult a lot of times to get the artists that students want. But I think this time we really were able to pull it out, especially with the comedians,” Telford said.

Polls conducted last semester indicated that Meyers and Offerman were students’ top two preferences for comedians, according to Telford.

And though Meyers’ price tag stretches a bit beyond CP’s normal $20,000 to $25,000 range for comedians, Telford said he was worth the cost.

“Even though it cost more money, we wanted to show students that we do listen to who they want on campus,” Telford said.

Kicking off the spring slate this week are illusionist Nate Staniforth, who will perform Tuesday on Greene Street from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and at 8 p.m. in the Russell House Ballroom, and comedy hypnotist Dale K, who will perform Thursday at 8 p.m. in the Russell House Ballroom. Those acts will cost $3,300 and $2,600, respectively.

Later this month, on Jan. 30, “I Love Female Orgasm,” a unique presentation that mixes comedy and lecture and addresses topics like body image and sexual health, will cost $4,173.

“We were looking for a show that wasn’t the typical lecture,” Telford said. “It’s a show that a lot of campuses in the North do, so we thought we’d take a chance and see how it would work down here.”

Other acts appearing on the spring calendar include:

— Bugsy Calhoun, a local poet, at a spoken word event Feb. 6 ($800)

— Author and motivational speaker Jenni Schaefer at a Carolina Beautiful Week event Feb. 26 ($3,800)

— Dueling DJs at Dance Marathon March 1 ($4,150)

— Shanelle Gabriel as host of a slam poetry competition April 10 ($2,000)

— an African drum and dance ensemble April 23 ($7,000)

The annual Campus Moviefest Finale on Feb. 15 will cost $15,000.

Telford said the CP committees tried to bring in a larger variety of entertainment this semester compared to last semester’s comedy-heavy schedule.

In all, the 12 acts will be paid $99,023, excluding $800 that Carolina Beautiful Week is contributing toward paying Jenni Schaefer. CP operates on an annual budget of $400,000  provided by student activity fees, Telford said.

Other costs haven’t yet been finalized, Telford said.

Talent costs haven’t been set for the “Project Condom” fashion show or “The Birdcage” drag show, and CP plans to bring in guests for additional spoken word events throughout the semester.

The group also hasn’t booked its spring concert. Telford wouldn’t discuss any details of the concert, citing ongoing contract negotiations.

“The names that we’ve thrown around are names that students are familiar with,” Telford said.

In addition to live talent, CP will continue to host showings of two movies each weekend, including a number of high-profile Oscar nominees this semester, such as “Argo,” “Django Unchained,” “Les Misérables,” “Life of Pi,” “Lincoln,” “Silver Linings Playbook” and “Zero Dark Thirty.”

New to the theater this semester will be Throwback Thursdays, which will feature more old-school films, including “Dirty Dancing,” “Fight Club,” “Lion King” and “Pulp Fiction,” Telford said.