Has the Giant Awakened?

Student Programming Board Hosts Comedy Event in Lieu of Spring Concert


“Saturday Night Live” comedians Sarah Sherman and James Austin Johnson perform at SPB’s Wake the Giant (Photo by Mike Singer)

Jennifer Moglia, Host of Strawberry Skies

On April 10, Quinnipiac University student body woke up expecting to see a stand-up comedy set from “Impractical Jokers” star Sal Vulcano. The initial reaction to Vulcano being the headliner for the yearly Wake the Giant event, typically a concert featuring a musical artist was mixed, but it seemed as if opinions were starting to change for the better as the event drew closer.

Unfortunately, just as students were starting to warm up to the idea of comedy over a concert, the Student Programming Board was hit with a major curveball. On Sunday afternoon, SPB announced that the Impractical Joker’s management team contacted them with the news that he had fallen ill and would not be able to perform.

However, the disappointing news came with a bright side. SPB had worked hard to find a last-minute replacement – two last-minute replacements, to be exact. “Saturday Night Live” stars, Sarah Sherman and James Austin Johnson would be stepping up to the plate.

When students walked into the People’s United Center at 7 p.m., they were greeted with an army of SPB volunteers in light blue shirts, welcoming them into the arena with neon green and pink wristbands. As they passed the PUC concessions stand, they were met with more SPB volunteers, this time behind a table full of free merchandise.

Students were welcome to take one free item each, including drawstring backpacks, baseball caps, water bottles, beach balls, and t-shirts. Huge kudos to SPB here, as freebies are every college student’s kryptonite – even when they have an absent comedian’s name stitched on to them.

After wrists were banded and merch was retrieved, students made their way down to the performance area, normally known as Lender Court, home to Quinnipiac’s men’s and women’s basketball teams. The “floor” area, instead of serving as a basketball court, housed tables and chairs with colorful table cloths and electronic candles. Students without floor seats took their places in the pre-installed PUC seats.

It looked as if the turnout was going to be lower than expected due to the last-minute changes, but as the clock ticked closer to 8 p.m., the People’s United Center filled up with students. The first performer, Sarah Sherman, began her set with relatable and personalized jokes about mispronouncing the school’s name and poking fun at Vulcano’s cancellation.

Her set became a bit vulgar at times, earning both laughs and cringing smiles from the audience, but when Sherman was done, the crowd applauded. Up next was James Austin Johnson, who began his portion of the night by referencing some of his predecessor’s material.

It seemed as if the students had loosened up when Johnson’s set began, not only laughing and clapping a bit more but also shouting out answers to the comedian’s questions.

When the night came to a close, the day certainly wasn’t ending the way that students thought it would, but they certainly saw a comedy show, and that’s what they were promised. Be sure to check out our contributor Mike Singer’s photo gallery from the event as well!

Wake The Giant 2022 (Photos)