Hal Sparks comedy show invites study break

Courtesy / Spotlight Productions
Jacob Guajardo

Courtesy / Spotlight Productions Jacob Guajardo

Ben Glick

The first week back to school can put students through the ringer. Contending with new schedules, living arrangements and unfamiliar instructors can be an ordeal. Spotlight Productions hopes to ease some of that stress with a free comedy show.

“Comedians are something that everyone can enjoy,” said Corey Orvis, the vice president of marketing at Spotlight Productions. “Everyone loves to laugh. It’s inherent in all of us. Bringing comedy acts to GVSU lets students take a break from class work, studying and homework and just have fun and laugh. What better way to kick off the semester than with a comedian?”

On Aug. 28, Spotlight Productions welcomes comedian Hal Sparks to the Kirkhof East Lawn. The show begins at 7:30 p.m. and wraps up around 9 p.m. In the event of inclement weather, the show will take place in the Grand River Room located in the Kirkhof Center.

Sparks is most well-known for his commentary and guest appearances on television, movies and radio. He appeared as a frequent commentator for the nostalgia series “I Love the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s.” Sparks also makes regular appearances on “The Joy Behar Show” and “The View” when he’s not hosting his own progressive radio talk show based in Chicago “The Hal Sparks Radio Program.”

Sparks is no stranger to West Michigan, recently performing in Grand Rapids at the B.O.B on Aug. 1.

“When we learned that Sparks was so willing to come back, we were more than happy to accommodate him,” said Chelsea Pulice, adviser for Spotlight Productions.

Sparks’ comedy reflects observations made over his long career in popular culture, current events and politics. In 2012, Sparks hit the tour circuit with the “Politics, Sex and Religion Tour,” which swings through GVSU Wednesday.

Opening for Sparks is student comedian and winner of the 2013 edition of the stand-up competition Last Laker Standing, Jacob Guajardo.

“Opening for (Sparks) is a dream come true,” Guajardo said. “It was a little short notice. Spotlight shot me a text asking if I’d like to do it, and I jumped at the opportunity. I’m very excited.”

Guajardo, a double major in creative writing and gender studies at GVSU, became interested in comedy through performing at open mic shows put on by Spotlight Productions.

“I would play some silly songs on my ukulele at their shows, which were accompanied by some witty banter in between,” Guajardo said. “People always laughed at me. I figured doing stand up was the next step in my performance walk-of-shame.”

Guajardo, who is in talks with Spotlight Productions to begin hosting the comedy open mic nights, will bring his unique brand of humor to the show Wednesday night, warming audiences up for
Sparks’ witty social commentary.

“Everyone who has seen (Guajardo) perform loves what he can do,” said Tim Hartland, executive vice president of Spotlight Productions. “So will everyone else who will see him for the first time.”

For more information on the Hal Sparks show, future campus events or the Last Laker Standing competition, visit the Spotlight Production’s OrgSync account or Facebook page, or view the calendar of events at gvsu.edu/studentlife/programming.

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