Late-night show pokes fun at NU insecurities

Amanda Palleschi

Communication sophomore Andrew Porwancher is sick of seeing titles like “The Catcher in the Rye” and “The Great Gatsby” on Northwestern students’ profiles on thefacebook.com.

“I just want to ask them, ‘Have you actually read these books or did you just rip a page out and roll up a J?'” Porwancher said.

The books’ themes, Porwancher said, are contradictory to the status-consciousness Porwancher finds rampant in the student body. It is this belief that inspires the satire in NU Channel One’s new flagship show, “Late Night with Andrew Porwancher.”

“NU is like that awkward kid on the playground that doesn’t quite fit in with the cool kids or the geeks,” Porwancher said. “We’re not quite a Big Ten-type school or an Ivy League school — it’s the awkwardness that comes with this unique position that never ceases to entertain me.”

Porwancher was approached by the student-run board of Channel One about doing hosting a late-night talk show in the fall and wrote the pilot episode over spring break.

“I guess they thought I was a good fit,” he said, “it’s just putting my stream of consciousness onto Channel One.”

The show’s pilot episode aired three times on Wednesday starting at 10:30 p.m. and will air again. Porwancher interviewed Communication sophomore Morgan Weed and Sameer Paroo, coordinator of student organizations.

He also took a Jon Stewart-style look into NU’s notorious dating scene and the injustices of the Sodexho food service.

“There’s something inherently awkward about the position Northwestern is in and I think this translates to a collective insecurity the student body has — I think it’s hilarious,” Porwancher said.

Porwancher includes this insecurity in his pilot episode, poking fun at a nerdy student on his first date and sorority girls.

“There’s an underlying social critique in all of the segments. NU students feel they constantly have to prove something, from grade-grubbing to sorority tote-bagging — it all deserves to be made fun of,” he said.

But Porwancher said he thinks his humor will do more good than harm.

“I think there is a segment of people at NU that the show will really resonate with,” he said.

Porwancher makes sure not to leave himself or his family members, many of whom attended NU, out of the satire.

In an interview, he makes his guest guess where his mother worked during her NU days (answer: The Keg of Evanston) and mocks self-impressed talk-show hosts with his attire and demeanor.

“The main point is that I look stupid,” he said. “I mean, I asked (Sameer Paroo) what frat at NU George Washington would have rushed.”

Porwancher, a communication studies major, said he has no future plans in show business.

Porwancher said he hopes to eventually gain a broad audience next year when more shows are produced.

McCormick sophomore Kunal Kumar, a friend of Porwancher’s who was part of the show’s live studio audience, said he was impressed with how the show turned out.

“Drew has this really funny, situational-type comedy,” Kumar said.

Channel One will air the show Friday at 11 p.m.

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