by Zach KancherHatchet Staff Writer
Comedian Bill Bellamy’s performance in a packed Lisner Auditorium Monday night drew an unexpectedly large crowd, as hundreds of students were turned away.
The former MTV personality entertained students with renditions from everyday life and stage antics during his performance, which was coordinated by the Student Activity Center.
SAC officials said they were pleased at the performace’s unexpected popularity.
Bill was a great pick for GW, said Amy Riesner, special events coordinator for SAC. We weren’t sure how popular he would be, and we talked to several agencies about other acts, but we determined that Bill would be the best fit here. Imagine how happy we were when (Lisner) was packed,.
For more than an hour hour, Bellamy entertained the audience with his stage presence, which included renditions of various situations that he had encountered in his life.
Bellamy touched home with GW students when he discussed several facets of Washington, D.C. life.
He discussed District driving conditions and the city’s club scene
I’ve come to the realization that college students are the poorest people in the world, Bellamy said. They’re poorer than anyone you can think of, even the homeless.
Bellamy also discussed his techniques for studying, which usually resulted in all-night cramming. Bellamy’s walk-through of final exam week and the stress that accompanies it earned a resounding applause.
But students did not enjoy everything they heard during the event.
Bellamy’s opening act, a comic by the name of T-Rex, left some audience members scratching their heads, and others were wholly offended.
His act touched a nerve with diverse GW audience when his subject shifted to mentally challenged individuals.
Students said they found the comedian’s slam on handicapped people in a skit about the Special Olympics offensive.
The stuff he said about (mentally) retarded kids was horrible, especially considering that I worked at the Special Olympics this summer, freshman Samantha Turner said. The worst part was that he went on for 15 minutes, just bashing these kids. It wasn’t funny to begin with.
Other students said T-Rex overstepped his comedic license.
I know comedians are supposed to make fun of people, but this just went too far, freshman Mollie Straff said. It isn’t like (mentally challenged people) have a condition they can be in control of. It just wasn’t right.
The University had no choice in accepting T-Rex’s performance, which came as a package with Bellamy’s routine, Riesner said.
Obviously, in hindsight, if we had a choice in the matter, we would not have chosen T-Rex to perform, Reisner said. However, we really wanted Bill.
MTV originally discovered Bellamy while he was doing the New York City comedy club circuit. He quickly became a fan favorite of the channel with his quick wit and humor.
MTV’s a great way to become a personality, Bellamy said in an interview before his performance. It’s like going to a camp everyday, where you’re the camp counselor, and you get to meet all these famous people all the time.
You’re dancing all day, maybe lounging in the hot tub with some cuties, Bellamy said. You get to play basketball or volleyball – it’s absolutely crazy.
After working at MTV, Bellamy hit the silver screen. His first role was in Who’s The Man, co-starring Ed Lover and his sidekick Dr. Dre. Bellamy’s film credits include Love Jones, Flag, How to Be a Player, Any Given Sunday, and he recently completed The Brothers, which Bellamy described as a male version of Waiting to Exhale. A TV show starring Bellamy is also in the works. but despite his on-screen feats, he relishes doing standup for college audiences.
College audiences are the bomb because they want to laugh their asses off no matter what, and if you’re funny, it’s over, Bellamy said. It’s such a great feeling you walk out there to see thousands of people screaming and clapping for you. And when you’re funny – it’s the biggest rush.
This article appeared in the August 31, 2000 issue of the Hatchet.