More than 10,000 students, parents and friends attended the Smith Center on Friday and Saturday nights for two shows of comedian Jon Stewart and a performance by the Boston Pops at Colonials Weekend 2005.
Considered a success by University administrators, the annual weekend welcomes parents to visit their students and alumni to come back to GW.
“It’s me and the Boston Pops for Parents Weekend,” Stewart said to the 3,993 people who attended his second show 10 p.m. Friday night. “The hard thing would be to find someone who likes both of us.”
Some of Stewart’s jokes were racy, but he was sure to include a wide variety of groups to be the butt of his jokes. He commented on Jeudaism, Catholicism, liberals, conservatives and the media in general.
“It was funny and provocative,” said University President Stephen Joel Trachtenberg. “I’m going to get a lot of e-mails about him being too risqu?. But I believe in free speech, and he’s a comedian.”
“Of course in any show, one or two jokes may have been seen more as ‘college humor,’ but we are a university, and our audience really is an adult population,” said Peter Konwerski, assistant to the senior vice president of Student and Academic Support Services.
A highlight of the evening was when a student asked Stewart his opinion of the CNN show “The Situation Room,” hosted by Wolf Blitzer. Upon poking fun of the program for having six television screenings (even though viewers only have two eyes), a student asked a follow-up question and pointed out that Blitzer himself was sitting in the audience.
Blitzer had a busy weekend. On Saturday night he was invited to the Smith Center stage to be a guest conductor to the Boston Pops rendition of “Stars and Stripes Forever.”
“I think I’m going to stick with journalism,” Blitzer said after the performance. “Interviewing the president is easier than that.”
Boston Pops conductor Keith Lockhart appealed to the parents in the audience by leading a baby-boomer sing along featuring songs such as “I Can’t get No Satisfaction” and “Puff the Magic Dragon.”
“Before each show I try to figure out who is listening and try to do something to cater the show to that audience,” Lockhart said after the performance of 2,533 people.
Lockhart said, “This was an interesting one because we had 18 to 22-year-olds, and then people 25 years older than that, but not a lot in between.”