'The Daily Show''s Jessica Williams to headline UB's 14th annual Comedy Series


The Student Association announced Wednesday that The Daily Show’s Jessica Williams will headline UB’s 14th annual Comedy Series.

Williams, well known for her role as a correspondent on Comedy Central’s The Daily Show and a recurring role on HBO’s popular series Girls, will come to the Center for the Arts’ Mainstage Theater on March 12. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show will start 8 p.m. Travon Free, one of the writers on the Daily Show, will open for William.

“For More We Turn To Jessica Williams” will be more of a “comedic lecture,” which differs from the standup routines of Comedy Series artists in the past, according to SA President James Ingram.

Williams will show clips of her work on The Daily Show, give insight into each segments’ production along with her personal stance on each topic, all of which will be strung together by jokes and comedic anecdotes.

“We’re excited to be bringing her in,” Ingram said. “We’re hoping a lot of people will recognize her from The Daily Show. I’m pretty sure they will. From the initial feedback we’ve heard, a lot of students are excited.”

Some students don’t know who Williams is, but students like Throsby Wells who do know are thrilled she’s coming.

“I think she’s hilarious,” Wells, a junior linguistics major said. “I’m very excited that she’s coming.”

This year’s Comedy Series will cost “under $40,000,” according to Ingram, which is under the allotted $45,000 for talent and $15,000 for production. Currently the SA comedy talent ledger shows two charges, totaling $18,500.

“The money subtracted from the talent ledger is going toward paying the comedians,” Ingram said.

Contractually Ingram said he couldn’t say what each artist cost to bring to UB, but what they’re saving on the Comedy Series would go toward the concerts and other events they have planned later in the semester.

Williams made her debut Daily Show debut on Jan. 11, 2012 and has gained notoriety for her many skits and appearances on the show, including a sketch on catcalling that inspired many parodies. She was recently featured on Variety’s “Top 10 Comics to Watch.”

Rumors surfaced Williams would take over for Jon Stewart on The Daily Show after he announced he would leave the show by the end of the year.

“I want her to replace John Stewart, but apparently [that’s not going to happen],” Wells said. “It would be nice to see a woman in one of those [late night] time slots, but more over I think she’s hilarious.”

Williams joins a list of lauded comedians that have been part of the SA’s Comedy Series, including Aziz Ansari, Craig Robinson and Chris Rock.

The Comedy Series is returning to the CFA this year after Aziz Ansari performed in Alumni Arena last year.

“Last year's show in Alumni Arena was not something we usually do – we almost always do comedy shows in the CFA,” said Erin Lachaal, the SA’s entertainment director in an email. “There will be no general public sales for this show so the entire CFA, which seats 1,764, will be for UB students.”

Tickets are available in the SA office, 350 SU, starting on March 4 with a valid UB ID.

Ingram said they began looking for a Comedy Series headliner over winter break, but SA didn’t like the dates many artists were available. March 12 fit perfectly between the rest of the SA’s events this semester, which include an electronic dance music (EDM) show on April 17 – the result of student polling conducted last semester – and a possibly more rock ‘n’ roll or alternative rock heavy Spring Fest on May 2.

“We were happy to get Jessica Williams, and we think she’ll do a great job,” Ingram said.

Jordan Oscar is a senior arts editor and can be reached at email: arts@ubspectrum.com