Programming Board Presents: A Night of Comedy with Michael Longfellow

From the Big Apple to the Big Green: SNL’s Michael Longfellow visits campus for a solo comedy show on Friday, Jan. 13.

by Rachel Roncka | 1/13/23 2:05am

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Source: Courtesy of Kennedy Wiehle

As a new cast member of Saturday Night Live, Michael Longfellow has recently gained recognition for performing in skits alongside veteran comedians like Cecily Strong and Kenan Thompson on the late-night comedy show. On Friday, Jan. 13 at 9 p.m., Longfellow will take the stage as a solo act to perform stand-up comedy at Dartmouth. Organized by the Programming Board, the show will take place at Common Ground in the Collis Center and is free of charge for all members of the College. 

Programming Board often plans events involving inviting special guests to campus, drawing from both local and distant talent to entertain and engage students. The idea to host a live comedy performance originated at one of Programming Board’s regular meetings during fall term. 

Programming Board executive board member Kennedy Wiehle ’25 said that efforts to bring a comedy act to campus have been in motion since last year, but a number of recurring obstacles, including travel, prevented Programming Board from making this goal a reality. 

“For an event like this where we’re just booking talent,” Wiehle said, “it’s really just trying to get the talent to come. It’s hard to get people unless they’re in the area, because flying people in is hard, and we basically can’t ever get anybody internationally because plane tickets are expensive.”

According to Wiehle, Dartmouth’s remote location often poses a challenge to guests who might otherwise be interested in performing for students. Travel expenses and limited affordable accommodations in the Upper Valley are especially challenging for budding young talent who are less established in their entertainment careers, Wiehle added. 

Programming Board executive Sierra Lee ’24 said the organization first came to a consensus on the type of event they wanted to host and then selected the comedian. . 

“This entailed internet research, asking fellow students, and watching YouTube clips,” Lee said. “One of our members suggested Michael Longfellow and after watching clips of his bits and learning more about him, we came to the consensus that he was hilarious and that we would love to bring him to Dartmouth.”

The 28-year-old comedian is most widely recognized for his work as a featured player on this season of SNL. Prior to joining the cast, Longfellow made appearances at various comedy clubs and festivals, including Netflix’s “Netflix is a Joke Fest.” His Oct. 2022 SNL debut during the show’s “Weekend Update” segment drew positive reactions online and provided a taste of what Longfellow will bring to his upcoming performance on campus. Longfellow’s performances have explored topics such as family dysfunction and bizarre roommate situations, seeking to find humor in the seemingly mundane. 

The event hopes to draw interest from audiences from a variety of student groups dedicated to comedy. Jack-o-Lantern social media chair Molly Fried ’25 said she found out about the event through Programming Board’s online promotion efforts. Fried was already familiar with Longfellow from both before and after he became a cast member on SNL, and said she is eager to see him perform in person. 

“Normally, it takes new SNL cast members a few seasons to get their footing,” Fried said. “But he came out immediately with some really funny content on Weekend Update in his very first episode, which makes me excited to see him live.”

When it comes to live comedy, Dartmouth students have a range of experiences. While some have never seen a live show before, others regularly write and perform their own for their peers as part of student improv tropes. Other students take their talents to the page, producing comedy magazines such as the Jack-O-Lantern. 

Fried said that she appreciates opportunities for comedy on campus, as it provides students with a creative outlet and source of joy within a rigorous academic environment. 

“I think comedy is one of the most important mediums of expression for so many reasons,” Fried said. “Mostly, it’s just plain enjoyable, but I also think it can provide extremely nuanced insight on certain topics, especially when dealing with satire. That said, I do think the main reason why people are so drawn to comedy is the relief it presents by making them smile.” 

Lee said she hopes that this event will serve as a similar source of joy for the Dartmouth community. 

“The events in the beginning of the term can really set the mood and energy for the rest of the term, so we hoped that by kick-starting this term off with a comedy event, winter term would be fun and laughter-filled despite the brutally cold weather,” Lee said. “Overall, we hope that from all of our events, students feel a greater sense of community at Dartmouth.”

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