Updated at 8:35 p.m.
Thursday afternoon A&O Productions announced they will be bringing The Office star and comedian B.J. Novak on Saturday, March 2 as the 2013 Winter Speaker. The date is about a month later than last year’s winter speaker, Kenan Thompson, but Communication senior Eliza Helm, the Director of A&O Speakers Committee, said that disparity is just due to how the dates and availability worked out this year.
Like Thompson, Novak achieved fame on a network TV show, but unlike Thompson, he has a background as a stand-up comedian. Helm said that was a major factor in choosing him.
“Our committee this year decided we were going to go for a stand-up comedian specifically,” Helm said. “BJ was at the top of the list because he started his career as a stand-up comedian, and that’s actually how he was discovered for The Office. So we thought that would bring in the stand-up crowd and people who just generally like comedy, but also the fact that he was on The Office I think attracts a whole other section of campus, that’s sort of more popular appeal.”
Weinberg junior Rosalind Mowitt, one of the co-directors of A&O Marketing and Media Committee, added that Novak received a lot of votes in A&O’s annual poll of the student body last fall.
“We don’t like to bring people to campus who we aren’t sure that campus would respond positively to,” Mowitt said. “So definitely a key factor was that campus seemed pretty excited about him as one of the possible options.”
The show will take place at Pick-Staiger Concert Hall and doors will open at 6:30 p.m. The show will begin at 8 p.m. Like many A&O Speakers events, three student stand-up comedians will open for Novak.
Students can opt-in to donate $2 of their ticket cost toward The Josie Nordman Fund to help fundraise money for Communication sophomore Josie Nordman's transplant and post-transplant care. Weinberg senior and A&O Chairman Logan Koepke said this was A&O’s attempt to help a campus cause.
“With everything that was happening with Josie Nordman, you saw different segments across campus sort of coming together, rallying behind a cause, doing what they could,” Koepke said. “So A&O saw that and asked, ‘How can we help through A&O programming?’ And the easiest way for us to help out is to lump it into our events and the easiest way to raise money is through ticket sales. So that’s definitely something we saw as an opportunity to really rally the community not only behind the speaker but also behind a Northwestern student who’s in need.”
Tickets will be available on the Norris Box Office website for $10 beginning at 10:30 a.m. on Monday, February 25.