Big-name artists are known to grace the Virginia Tech campus during Homecoming week, and tonight’s performer is no exception.
Comedian Aziz Ansari will take the stage at the Burruss Auditorium at 7:30 p.m. to perform at the annual Homecoming Laugh Riot.
Virginia Tech Union sponsors this year’s Laugh Riot, a show that has been in the works since last May, said VTU’s Director of Lively Arts Michaela McNamara, a junior political science major.
“Last year with Kevin Hart, it was such a big success. So this year, we wanted to do something just as big so people weren’t disappointed,” McNamara said. “Aziz seemed like a really good fit for that, so we were lucky that he was available.”
Ansari, who was named the funniest man under 30 by Rolling Stone in 2011, is well known for his stand-up comedy specials “Intimate Moments for a Sensual Evening” and “Dangerously Delicious” as well as his role as Tom Haverford, opposite Amy Poehler on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.”
According to McNamara, when she was given a list of comedians to choose from to try and book back in May, she knew that as soon as she saw the name Ansari, he would be perfect for the Laugh Riot.
“He’s someone that a lot of people like,” McNamara said.
Freshman engineering major and Ansari fan, Pat Rogers agrees that the comedian will appeal to a lot of people, which is the goal when planning Homecoming week, McNamara said.
“It’s important for Homecoming to have different events like the J.Cole and Wale concert and the Aziz Ansari show,” she said. “That way there is something for everyone.”
It seems that the VTU has accomplished that goal, since students camped out for tickets as early as 7 a.m. the morning of Sept. 20. According to McNamara, many people waited four to five hours to purchase tickets.
By the time the ticket office opened at 11 a.m., the line of students waiting snaked around the entirety of BreakZone in Squires Student Center.
“People were really excited (when VTU announced that Aziz was coming). We barely had to do any marketing because people were doing it for us. People were telling their friends and sharing it on Facebook,” she said.
McNamara also said that a VTU Facebook event created shortly after the announcement gained 900 attendees, almost half of Burruss Auditorium capacity, over the span of 48 hours.
Rogers, who has been following Ansari since his 2010 Comedy Central special aired, said that he was ecstatic when he heard Ansari would be performing at Tech.
“I think Aziz is a good choice because he’s a very light-hearted comic.” Rogers said. “He’s so funny, upbeat and high-energy, and I think it reflects how our campus is too.”
Rogers describes Ansari’s humor as witty, while McNamara notes his unique delivery and quirkiness.
Rogers is looking forward to hearing some new material from Ansari, but he said that he will still laugh even if it’s old material.
“If I’m not crying from laughing at the beginning of the show, I know I will definitely leave in tears (from laughing),” Rogers said.
Rogers said that he plans to keep up with Ansari’s career in the future as well. Ansari’s future plans include releasing a comedy special titled “Buried Alive” on Netflix Nov. 1 and Ansari recently signed on to write a book for Penguin Press.
McNamara said that it is the excitement of students like Rogers that make all the hard work over the past several months worth it.
“I’m just excited by how excited other people are. That’s why we do this, that’s why we program. It’s for the students,” McNamara said.
There are a small number of tickets still available at the ticket office in Squires Student Center, which is open from 12-5 p.m.