Rebecca Farr

Equinox Staff


Remember Kenan Thompson as Pierre Escargot in “All That”? Lying in the bathtub, soaked in suds, gowned by a yellow raincoat, hat and swim fins. Blast from the past, right? Well, get ready, because the current Saturday Night Live star is coming to Keene State College April 20. As KSC students anticipate Thompson’s comedy act, they have their Student Activities Council to thank.

SAC’s Event Coordinator sophomore Ryan Mahan said Spring Weekend has often given the impression that there’s “this big concert and then nothing else,” so he said to the committee, “Why can’t we try to fight for another big event?”

With country artist Chris Young as April 19’s Spring Concert event, that just so happened to leave SAC with enough money to afford the former Good Burger “employee.” Other potential comedian names, like the “fluffy” Gabriel Iglesias and even Wayne Brady floated around the event committee, but they were to remember that the high cost to pay the performer is not the only expense.

Director of Student Involvement at KSC Jenn, Ferrell, said the budget must also include agent fees, production costs, security needs, transportation and hospitality for the celebrity guests. SAC’s budget is determined a year prior to when it will be spent and is negotiated by their expectations of events throughout the upcoming Fall and Spring semesters. “There are budgets within budget,” Mahan said. Ferrell said she helps SAC as much as she can with what she already knows of the prices and they “ballpark all the possible areas” from there.

“Early on, we sit down and go through and consider what are the costs for the rest of the year? We know approximately what some events might cost, so we see, what does that leave us and how much does it cost to rent a generator because the gym needs [one] to be able to handle everything we need to do in there. That’s $4,000,” Ferrell said.

Where do the actual dollar bills come from? The answer is students. Among all of the fine print fees included in KSC’s tuition, one of them goes to SAC. This year, between events like Freshman Orientation Week, Parent Weekend, Winter Weekend and several more, the pot for Spring Weekend was left with enough to book the $50,000 country music performer and $25,000 Thompson. Once SAC’s concert committee confirmed Young, Mahan put the offer in for Thompson and was granted the news of acceptance. However, after this major step, the process is ongoing.

“This takes more than just my position,” Mahan said. “As events coordinator, my position is to research the artist, contact the agents and put in offers to get the contract. I also put in the request for the rooms, the tech requests, anything to make the show what it is, that’s my job,” Mahan said.

The hospitality coordinator is who books the hotels, plans the celeb’s transportation and even buys food for the rider. A “rider” in show business plans and assures that the superstar has anything and everything that he or she needs, as Mahan explained it.

“Some people are very extreme, others are like, ‘I just need a microphone and a light.’ We didn’t even get a rider for him. We thought it was a mistake in the contract but it’s not. Kenan [Thompson] didn’t seem like he was fancy or anything from my end,” Mahan said.  Junior Steve Aruilio said he “would probably go see him [Thompson], but I’d rather have a better music act, like an up and coming rapper, than comedy.”

However, both Ferrell and the Student Activities Council anticipate a potential sell-out event, therefore the comedy act will be in the Spaulding Gymnasium, which is capable of a 1,700 person capacity. As KSC students await Spring Weekend, it’s vital information (remember that sketch from “All That”?) to be aware that tickets to see Kenan Thompson’s comedy act will go on sale April 1.

In the words of Pierre Escargot, “My heart is full of crispy bacon!” For KSC students, he is might also be full of humor and laughs for a memorable performance.


Rebecca Farr can be contacted at

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