‘Office’ actor makes students LOL

Students laughing

More than 1,000 students packed the UIC Forum Thursday for the free LOL@UIC comedy show. Photo: Roberta Dupuis-Devlin/UIC Photo Services

“The Office” actor B.J. Novak and comedians Mission IMPROVable brought warmth and laughter to a cold campus Thursday night at LOL@UIC.

More than 1,000 students braved frigid temperatures, waiting in line for the event outside the UIC Forum. The room was packed, with students filling the seats and packing the bleachers in the back of the room.

“This was my first LOL but I am so glad I was able to make it,” said freshman Ify Anikamadu. “The event really brings together the whole campus and makes for a great evening out.”

Novak, who starred in the NBC comedy “The Office” and movies such as “Inglourious Basterds” and “Saving Mr. Banks,” presented his own brand of stand-up comedy.

“When I was coming here, I was told it would take nine minutes to get from Chicago O’Hare International Airport to the campus of UIC,” Novak said.

“I don’t know which psychopath from Google Maps was driving that route, but they must have been getting a kick out of passing all the Honda Accords on Christmas morning trying to make that time.”

Wearing one of the “LOL@UIC” beanies given to the first 250 students in the door, Novak pulled out notecards with future jokes, asking students to pick the best one.

He read an excerpt from his upcoming book, One More Thing: Stories and Other Stories, and answered questions about topics like his favorite thing about the city.

“My favorite part of Chicago is the brick that is seen all across the city,” he said. “And of course, the Art Institute.”

The event opened with Mission IMPROVable, an improv troupe of four comedians who tour the country. Their skits, many with audience participation, got the crowd riled up and ready for Novak.

“I thought that Mission IMPROVable was a great way to get the show going — they were something so new and hilarious. I would love to see them on campus again,” sophomore Collin Langer said.

LOL@UIC is an entirely student-organized event coordinated by the Student Activities Board. The committee organized the Fall Lecture with actor and former White House adviser Kal Penn Nov. 8.

“This was the first event that I ever planned and it was really exciting to be a part of something as big as LOL,” said Saipriya Avasarala, Student Activities Board member and sophomore in neuroscience.

“I liked taking on a leadership role in the planning and being able to work the event it made me more responsible and pay attention to detail.”


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