Laughter in the big time

Jasmine Putney, [email protected]

In what has been referred to as the biggest comedy event ever to take place at the University of Iowa, Kevin Hart will perform Saturday in Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Doors for the event will open at 7 p.m., and the show will start at 8 p.m.Student tickets are $35, and general admission tickets are $75. The event is being organized and hosted by the Campus Activities Board.

The Daily Iowan recently caught up with the organization’s comedy director, Yaniv Azriel, to discuss the process of bringing one of comedy’s biggest names to campus.

Daily Iowan: I think what many of us are wondering is how in the world did you get him to come here?
Yaniv Azriel: A lot of persistence, and he’s on tour right now, so it kind of worked out. The only way we could get him was if we worked out a deal with Iowa State, because he’s performing there the next night. So that was part of the deal; he does Iowa then Iowa State and he makes almost $1 million for two nights.

DI: How long have you been planning this event?
Azriel: It’s been in the works for over a year, but it started to become a reality in July. That’s when everything fell into place.

DI: Can you walk me through the process you went through to plan this event?
Azriel: [Kevin Hart] has an agent, and his agent is way too important for us to talk to. So we have someone called “middle agent,” and that’s who we talked to. The middle agent then communicates with [Hart’s] agent, and we give him a list of dates that would work for us. He then tries to see if he could fit Kevin in anywhere. They see if he’s available and if he wants to. So that’s a big deal, because sometimes even if they’re available, they choose not to. Even though he could make $500,000 for the show.

DI: How extensive was the process in getting him here?
Azriel: There was a lot of persistence involved and us trying to get information from them takes a long time. Like, we just got the rider a few days ago, which is the list of things they need when they get here, whether that be technology or food or whatever. And we just got that a few days ago, so we have a four-hour meeting tonight because everything we had planned is scratched. We thought we were just going to figure it out, and now he sent us what he wants, so we have to do that. It’s just adapting and being ready to make changes.

DI: What has been going into the actual execution of the event?
Azriel: For the most part, it’s Carver getting everything ready. We’ve had a few meetings with [the Carver people] about how to set up. There’s a production team company we’re working with in Cedar Rapids, and it does all the lighting, and sounds, and rigging. We’re working with the SCOPE [people], because they know everything about production and will be a few extra hands to help out. I had to book an ambulance to be on site for the show. It messes with a lot of hospital staff’s parking, who usually park in the Carver lot, so I’ve had to let people know where they can park at that day. A lot of precautionary stuff. We had to notify university catering that we have to cater all of Kevin’s people when they get here to work. We’re setting up his hospitality room. I know his meal was pretty specific, but I can’t remember what it was. But I know it wasn’t like that famous rock star who only asked for green M&M’s in his dressing room.

DI: We’re only a few days out from the show now. How are you feeling?
Azriel: I was feeling pretty good until we got the rider. But I think everything is going to go perfectly fine. At this point, I don’t know what could go wrong. We have a production team doing everything and people are buying tickets still. I’m excited about the show, but I’m also excited for it to be over with. I think Kevin Hart’s very, very funny and awesome with crowds, and I think he’s nice. I hope he’s nice, I really want to meet him. I don’t think I’m going to watch it because I’m probably going to be doing stuff backstage, but I’m excited for everyone else to watch it. I think everyone is going to love it.

Kevin Hart standup
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: Carver-Hawkeye

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