"Distinguished Speaker, John Oliver, rescheduled due to weather conditions "

Speech will now take place in two weeks


When Andrew McFadden and Nick Palumbo stood on line the first day John Oliver tickets were being issued out to students, they didn’t even consider the possibility of it being ‘snowed out.’

But before Oliver made it to Buffalo Nov. 18, Mother Nature did. Parts of Western New York were hit with more than 4 feet of snow, forcing the university to postpone Oliver’s appearance in the 28th annual Distinguished Speaker Series. Representatives of Oliver confirmed it was postponed due to weather.

Oliver will speak at Alumni Arena Wednesday Dec. 3. at 8 p.m. All tickets previously purchased with a Nov. 18 date will be valid for the Dec. 3 speech. Students mainly understood the decision to postpone the show, but some were upset with the Dec. 3 makeup date.

Oliver is the host of HBO’s “Last week tonight with John Oliver,” on Sundays at 11 p.m. His half-hour, late-night talk show has elements of a news satire and is especially popular among college-age students. The show, which just finished its first season, has an average audience of four million people.

University Police sent out a Facebook message at 11:07 a.m. announcing Oliver’s speech would be postponed. Student Association President James Ingram said he received the official notification around 11:25 a.m., but heard rumors of the cancelation before then. Ingram agreed with the university’s decision to postpone the event due to the weather.

Many Buffalo streets and highways were closed Tuesday, including driving bans and states of emergency in areas like Lancaster, Hamburg and Orchard Park. The snow began Monday evening and is expected to continue into Wednesday.

“With a person that draws a crowd like John Oliver, people are coming from kind of all over the Buffalo area,” Ingram said. “Even the roads around here aren’t that great right now, so there are concerns for students who would be coming as well.”

Palumbo, a senior civil engineering major, and McFadden, a senior Spanish major, are roommates in an off-campus house on Englewood Avenue. He and four other roommates planned on going to the Nov. 18 speech. They were “upset” and “disappointed” upon first hearing about the cancelation but understood the school’s reasoning behind it.

“I was a little upset and then I looked at the roads and completely understood where they were coming from,” Palumbo said. “Safety first.”

Ingram was concerned about how students and community members who purchased tickets would make it to the event.

“I would hate for students to have picked up tickets or community members who have picked up tickets to not be able to get to the show because of a weather concern, so I was glad that UB and Mr. Oliver were able to find a date to reschedule and I’m glad it’s going to be before the semester ends, too,” Ingram said.

UB and Oliver’s representatives decided to postpone the event and came up with a date that worked for both Oliver and Alumni Arena’s schedule.

“In talking with Oliver’s people it was clear it would not be responsible for us (UB & Oliver) to attempt to present tonight,” said William Regan, Director of the Office of Special Events, in an email. “We were very fortunate to have our respective calendars align to allowing us to immediately reschedule the event for Dec. 3.”

Oliver’s Dec. 3 show will be his first appearance after Thanksgiving, according to his website. He performs in Georgia, North Carolina, Ohio and Wisconsin later that week.

Palumbo and McFadeen were unsure if they would be able to make the trip to North Campus with Tuesday night’s weather.

“If we were getting the same stuff the southtowns were getting, we might not have went,” Palumbo said. “But if it wasn’t too bad, we might have made the trip.”

Oliver’s speech is rescheduled to Wednesday, Dec. 3, two days before the final day of classes. Palumbo said one of his roommates has a final exam that evening and is unsure if he’ll be able to make the show. Palumbo thinks he will be able to attend the show but is unsure depending on what his final project schedule is like during that week.

"Overall it was probably for the best and I can see where UB was coming from in canceling, but the reschedule date is not the best choice as it’s the last week of classes,” Palumbo said. “Some people might have exams or projects around that time.”

McFadden said his roommates will probably have a “chill night and get ready for the next blizzard” Tuesday evening since Oliver was canceled.

He doesn’t have class Dec. 3 and is excited to see Oliver.

“I’ve been a John Oliver fan since he first started on ‘the Daily Show,’ so I don’t mind waiting another couple of weeks to see him.”

McFadden and Palumbo hope the weather or classes won’t deter them from seeing Oliver in December.

email: news@ubspectrum.com