More than 1,000 turned away

Hollan Holm

After waiting outside in the cold for three hours, Louisville freshman Meghan Coomes’ dedication was rewarded – she scored fifth row seats to see comedian Jim Breuer.

More than 1,000 other students weren’t so lucky. After DUC Theater’s capacity of 800 was reached, the rest of those waiting, some who were there for hours, were turned away.

Hartford junior Donny Alvey and his band mates from Floord were the first to arrive outside Downing University Center around 3:30 p.m.

“We decided we was going to come here about a week ago,” Alvey said.

Alvey and his friends say they are Comedy Central fans who enjoy Breuer’s musical impersonations of the band AC/DC singing the Hokey Pokey.

“We live for this stuff,” Alvey said.

With Coomes’ arrival at 4:30 p.m., there were 10 people in line. Her feet soon began to feel the affects of the chilly temperature in her royal blue flip-flops.

Coomes – a fan of Breuer’s Saturday Night Live character Goat Boy – hoped her dedication would be rewarded.

“We’re expecting front row seats,” she said.

Before the doors opened at 7:30 p.m., the crowd had stretched down the steps on the front side of DUC, past the ATMs along the sidewalk – almost to the Preston Center, two blocks away.

Women pulled their jackets closer and men buttoned up higher on their shirts to fight the chill.

Western police Sergeant Jody Burton estimated the crowd to be between 2,000 and 2,500.

The 1,200 to 1,400 who didn’t fit in the theater, like Lebanon sophomore Jennifer Cook, were turned away.

Cook said she was about 200 students from getting in the door and couldn’t even tell how long the line was behind her.

“I was very disappointed, especially after standing out in the cold,” said Cook, a SNL fan since age 11.

“I definitely think they could have had it in Diddle,” she said.

Campus Activities Board member Jason Seay helped bring Breuer to campus. Seay said he handed out promotional CAB merchandise to the students left out in the cold and explained why the show wasn’t held in a bigger venue.

Seay said Van Meter Hall was booked by the Chi Omega Stomp and Diddle Arena wasn’t available because of the continuing construction.

He said CAB might distribute free tickets for future events that they anticipate will draw a huge crowd.

“We’ll create the same frenzy, but have that frenzy on the night of the event,” Seay said.

With this policy students would have to scramble for tickets before shows and be guaranteed a seat rather than wait in the cold with uncertainty.

When Seay takes over as CAB chairman next semester, he plans to bring more big name acts to campus.

Burton and other Western police officers spent time outside with the crowd and described the scene as calm.

Less than 30 minutes before the show, the crowd did get a little rowdy. Some waiting claimed others were cutting line.

Nancy freshman Vanessa Daulton was one who fell victim to such ridicule.

Daulton said she had been waiting in line for two and a half hours and only left to go to the restroom. When she returned to her place, a chorus of “boos” came with her.

“They all called me a cutter,” Daulton said. “I’m kind of upset.”

Later, Daulton said the crowd yelled profanities at others who they accused of sneaking to the front of the line.

Greg Roy, a freshman from Hendersonville, Tenn., compared his and other students’ initial scramble to get in the door to the Spanish “Running of the Bulls.”

Inside the auditorium, students sang along to AC/DC songs like “Back in Black” and “Shook Me All Night Long.”

Paul Bond, lead and rhythm guitarist for Breuer’s back-up band “Willy’s Basement,” warmed up the crowd with song parodies of “American Pie” and “Meet Virginia” that made the audience cringe and howl with laughter.

Bond, who says his style reflects the influence of comedian George Carlin, said he’s living out two of his dreams.

“It’s awesome to get to be a comedian and play heavy metal,” he said.

After Bond, Breuer walked onstage, grabbed a microphone and shouted “Oh yeah.” Then he made his signature Goat Boy call – “Bleeeh.” The audience chanted each call back to him.

He giggled impishly as he told the audience he came up with the idea of Goat Boy one day when he was “baked” – high on marijuana – at the zoo.

He called to the petting zoo goats, and they responded with “bleeeehs.”

“When you’re baked, that’s huge,” Breuer said.

In addition to the goats, Breuer impersonated former Saturday Night Live cast members like Norm MacDonald and the lead singers for the bands Metallica and AC/DC.

Breuer said he realized he was funny when at 10-years-old he cracked up other students with sound effects such as fart noises.

His interest in sound effects was fed by time spent watching cartoons including the Flintstones, Bugs Bunny and Felix the Cat.

“I was a monster cartoon fan,” he said.

Breuer said Western’s reception was more energetic than what he got two nights earlier in a Nashville club.

“You all were crazy,” Breuer said. “I didn’t think they were going to be that hopped up.”

The audience had different opinions about Breuer’s show.

Coomes didn’t get her front row seats but enjoyed Breuer’s impersonations from the fifth row.

“I thought it was good,” she said. “He was interacting with us and had a lot of variety.”

Burton said the drug themes in Breuer’s performance were no different from the entertainment on television.

“It’s still not a positive message,” he said.

Breuer’s response to criticizers – he doesn’t care.

“I’m not in it for them . It’s not my problem if you’re offended by it,” Breuer said.