Year in Review: Top features #2

GVL/Kevin Sielaff
Marlon Wayans

GVL/Kevin Sielaff Marlon Wayans

Shelby Pendowski

Originally published 10/13/14

In the early morning hours on Oct. 9, the Spotlight Productions crew at Grand Valley State University began preparing for the arrival of the Wayans brothers, Marlon and Shawn. The students under the direction of Spotlight president Amy Hallochak set up seating for 3,200 people, transformed the GVSU Fieldhouse Arena with a stage and prepared organic chicken at the request of the comedians.

The Wayans Brothers, known for their roles in “White Chicks” and the Scary Movie franchise, were booked instead of a musician for this year’s Homecoming concert.

“We wanted to switch it up,” Hallochak said. “It is not something new; we usually do comedy shows, but it has just been music here in the past couple of years.”

The choice to invite the two comedians was a unanimous decision by the 10 members of Spotlight’s e-board. As a part of GVSU’s Homecoming week, the board also tried to select an act to go with the theme “Back in Blue: A Laker Legacy.”

“The Wayans brothers, I know, they are from my childhood…with their movies and stuff,” Hallochak said.

Preparing for the event was a breeze according to the members of Spotlight, until the comedians arrived fashionably late. With a planned arrival of 7 p.m. and a curtain call of 8 p.m. the team scrambled to not delay the performance for too long when the comedians arrived past the scheduled curtain call.

As the Fieldhouse buzzed with thousands of people, students took the 30-minute delay to make some fun of their own. Many students jived to music, and three members of the Phi Beta Sigma fraternity kept attendees cheering with synchronized dancing around the venue.

“Ohio! Who is not from Ohio? Who is from Ohio?” said Will Sylvince, the opening act, to commence the evening. Sylvince, who tours with the Wayans brother, took time in his 15-minute skit to share his impressions of GVSU and Allendale.

“I don’t think I have ever been to Allendale,” Sylvince said. “Look, I am from New York City, and this is some clean a** town.”

The polished façade, newly renovated campus and air purity made an impact on the comedian, who went on to joke about the already chilly weather. The audience roared for Sylvince’s set, but the screams of the audience escalated with the introduction of Marlon Wayans.

Although there was no band this year for the homecoming concert, Marlon Wayans wanted a musicians-welcome rather than the welcome and recognition comedians receive.

“I had this whole opening in my head,” Marlon said. “I wanted to come out and I wanted fireworks and one of those laser shows and a tier of smoke…then I realized I don’t have the budget for that…but musicians have budgets. Comedians though, all we have is this microphone.”

From musicians to spring breaking with Channing Tatum in Mexico to giving students an uncensored talk on relationships and college, the comedian kept the crowd laughing.

Following a small skit by Sylvince, Shawn Wayans took his turn in front of the Laker nation.

Shawn, similar to his brother, joked about comedy in relation to music and his love for hip-hop. But it was his relationship advice that kept the crowd laughing. The bit of hesitation that some students had entering the show dissipated after an hour and a half of laughter.

“Comedy is a different experience,” said Ninah Hargress, an education major at GVSU. “I never have really been to a comedy show before so it was a nice change up.”

With over 2,000 tickets sold, there was an immense amount of support for the comedy show this year. From the stage, the crowd seemed in full support of the change as well.

“I thought the show was great and I thought the crowd was electrifying,” Sylvince said. “There was a lot of energy…and they seemed to really like comedy.”

At the end of the night as the crew of Spotlight lined up to pose with the visiting comedians, each member wore big smiles signifying another successful homecoming concert in the books.

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