By Amanda Valentovic (Special to The Chronicle)
Aziz Ansari is most recognized as confident businessman Tom Haverford on NBC’s “Parks and Recreation,” and more recently from his own stand-up comedy shows. He made Hofstra students and families alike laugh on Saturday night when he brought his talents to the Out Loud comedy show at the Mack Sports and Exhibition Complex.
The event marked the return of the comedy show, which had not been held since Fall Festival 2011.
“Last year, we were prepping for the debate,” said Vice President of Student Affairs Sandy Johnson. “They were building the stages and platforms near the arena, and that is the only place on campus that can hold that many people.”
With no debates this year and high demand, Out Loud made a comeback. Student input was considered in the efforts to bring a comedian to campus.
“Students are the largest participants,” said Johnson. “We worked with students and groups like HAHA Hofstra to put together a wish list. It just happened that Aziz Ansari was at the top of their list. The stars were in alignment and he had availability, and we’re very excited.”
Freshman Paige Greenleaf was one of the students who won the chance drawing to meet Ansari. “We had to sit in a certain section, and then we got to take a group picture,” she said. “He was really nice.”
A “Parks and Recreation” fan as well as a fan of Ansari’s stand-up work, Greenleaf enjoyed the show. “He was funny; it was interesting how he could talk about one thing for so long and make it interesting.”
Nick Proto, a freshman film and TV production major agreed. “I think Aziz really hit home with his message about texting and relationships, as well as delivering a funny show to the audience,” he said.
“Aziz is one of those very fast rising stars, he’s been acknowledged for his work on ‘Parks and Recreation,’ and has a series of stand-up shows. He’s a really interesting and fascinating person. I think this is a really exciting thing to have happen on our campus,” Johnson said about having such a well-known figure visit Hofstra.
“We don’t anticipate it going anywhere,” Johnson said when asked if the show will stay a permanent fixture of Fall Festival. “It really appeals to alumni and a good portion of families.”