SNL’s Andy Samberg delivers playful talk to students in Tech

Christina Salter

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Hillel Leadership Council President Scott Topal was pacing the sidewalk outside Tech at about 6:45 p.m. Tuesday night, waiting for “Saturday Night Live” star Andy Samberg to arrive.

Minutes later Samberg strolled through the door of Tech on Tuesday night in a red plaid shirt, jeans and white sneakers, no entourage in sight.

“Oh my God, he’s just chilling wearing sunglasses and a messenger bag,” one girl said.

“He looked like such a balla walking through the front door there,” another guy said.

Samberg’s casual entrance set the tone for his 8 p.m. performance in front of about 600 NU students at Ryan Family Auditorium, hosted by NU’s Fiedler Hillel Center.

Shauna Perlman, a member of the Hillel executive board, moderated the discussion. The Communication junior used questions chosen by members of Hillel and submitted by students to the Hillel Web site. The students with the three best questions were invited to attend an afterparty with Samberg in Tech’s Cohen Faculty Commons.

NU improv comedy group MeeOw opened for Samberg. After 25 minutes, the lights dimmed and Samberg’s most famous SNL Digital Short, “Dick in a Box,” was screened to roars of approval from the audience.

The conversation continued with questions about Samberg’s career, sense of humor and personal life, along with several more clips of his work. Samberg said he started out by moving to Los Angeles after college with writers and longtime friends, creating their own videos at a time when the Internet wasn’t used much for posting creative work.

He also denied rumors that his contract states he can’t cut his famous curly hair while on SNL.

“Lorne (Michaels, SNL creator) has been begging me to shave my head,” Samberg said. “He said, ‘You look like a retard.’ Really, he said that.”

Samberg briefly addressed the topic of being a Jewish comedian. He suggested Hillel bring Mel Brooks as its next Jewish speaker. When asked about his plans for the upcoming Passover holiday, Samberg put on a serious face and said, “I’m going to steal the Declaration of Independence. … There’s a treasure map on it.”

Halfway through the show, a member of the audience ran to the stage, screaming “Andy, I love you,” and threw a package at his feet. Samberg started to read the enclosed letter after the audience insisted.

“You guys, it’s actually just normal and sweet. … WHAT? Is that even legal in this state?” he said.

The audience member, Communication senior Kat Palardy, later had the chance to ask Samberg, “Is it lonely being famous?” After staring in mock disbelief for about 20 seconds, Samberg asked if she would marry him.

After the show, Palardy was invited to the afterparty. She said the package contained a DVD of her own stand-up comedy.

“It was more of a conversation than I ever imagined I’d actually have with Andy Samberg,” Palardy said.

At times, Samberg broke out of the question-and-answer format to interact with audience members and even poke fun at them.

“Oh, this fireside chat format suits us,” he said in a mocking manner.

At the end, the discussion was opened up to questions from the audience.

Samberg avoided a real answer when asked about his love life. He claimed to be involved with the entire cast of Cirque de Soleil, Ryan Seacrest, Snoopy and even Hillary Clinton.

“You probably have heard the rumors, and yes, it’s true, Hillary Clinton and I. It’s steamy. We do things to each other you would not believe,” he said.

The audience responded enthusiastically to Samberg’s performance, but some students were disappointed when he didn’t come out to sign autographs afterwards. Chris Poole said he thought Samberg was “fantastic,” but wished the questions would have delved deeper into the inner workings of SNL.

“I think we missed a huge opportunity to talk to this comic genius,” the Communication sophomore said.

Other audience members had no complaints.

“He was a lot more chill than I expected but still really funny and down to earth, and that made me like him even more,” said Weinberg sophomore Megan Sugrue.

c-salter@northwestern.edu

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