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Comedy Open Mic Night - Managing Content?
Frank Michael Muñoz(frankmichael)
Posted: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 11:20 AM
Joined: 6/18/2009
Posts: 12

Hi All,


We've recently had great success with Comedy Open Mic Nights in our Pub.  Unfortunately, our excitement with the great attendance and good number of student performers is tempered by complaints we have received regarding the content of the comedy.


We're seeking to continue this very successful program, but also concerned with supporting our commitment to social justice/creating and maintaining safe spaces for our students.  We also want to be mindful of promoting creativity and not infringing on free speech protections.

Have any folks faced similar issues on their campuses?  How have you managed this challenge? 


Any guidance or suggestions would be greatly appreciated!






Frank Michael Muñoz

Assistant Director for Campus Programs

University of Vermont

Mary Tosch(mtosch)
Posted: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 11:28 AM
Joined: 6/25/2007
Posts: 74

Hi Frank,

  I have faced a similar issue in the past.  We did both of these suggestions at different times:

1) Ask all performers and communicate ahead of time, that content needs to be family friendly or PG13 rated or however you determine will fit your audience.

2) Advertise that adult content will be used if you don't want to ask the performer to be family friendly.

Because this is a regular series, maybe you choose 1 time a month to be family friendly or adult content, or 2x a month, etc.

Both of these worked for the program board at a fairly conservative public institution.

Hope that helps,

Best of luck,

Mary Tosch

Bemidji State University

Dave Timmann(dtimmann)
Posted: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 11:39 AM
Joined: 4/17/2007
Posts: 109

I agree with Mary.  It's the upfront communication and letting the audience know in advance.  Our comics usually ask us what is off limits.  Our audience has come to know that our shows are "adult" rated.
Chris Carey(ccarey)
Posted: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 2:52 PM
Joined: 11/13/2008
Posts: 14

Hi all,

This is an interesting conversation.  We have an on-campus rider that was implemented after a performance that was complained about by students.  It basically includes the language that includes that "services will be provided without discrimination toward any persons regardless of their race, color, sex, age, religion, national origin, sexual orientation, marital status, or disability or any other manner prohibited by law.  Artist acknowledges and agrees that TEmple shall have the right ti immediately terminate the perfoamcen in the event of any violation of this or any other Temple policy, including, without limitation, the policy on sexual harassment."


I think the big difference is that these are paid vendors, not student performers. 


I just read that there might be some speech code issues stirred up by FIRE at UNC Chapel Hill.  I'd be interested to get someone's take that knows about that situation and how that might play into this.

Jay Craggs(craggsj)
Posted: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 5:01 PM
Joined: 10/2/2007
Posts: 19

I agree communication is the answer.  I also think that you may find that censoring a comedian is pretty difficult - humor is pretty much based on tension of some sort.  You should have a pretty good idea of what type of content you're in for before booking the act, then you can advertise it accordingly.

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