Ryan Chartrand

Associated Students Inc. Events is hosting a “night of laughter” with comedian Owen Smith tonight, the first show in what will eventually be a series of comedy acts to be featured at Cal Poly.

“A significant portion of requests from the student population have been asking for pure entertainment acts,” said Michele Curro, program coordinator for ASI. “We’re looking to implement what we’ll call the ‘Truly Funny’ series to go along with the ‘True Life’ and ‘True Love’ series.”

The program, which is anticipated to be in full swing by fall quarter, will host a variety of touring and emerging comedians that will touch every portion of the student population, Curro said.

“Comedy is the No. 1 thing students request, and so we’re hoping that this new series will become a part of their normal routine and can open their eyes to a broader range of activities,” she added.

ASI would be hard-pressed to find a better place to start a series than with comedian Owen Smith, an inventive up-and-coming talent who currently works on two TV shows: CW’s “Everybody Hates Chris” and BET’s “BUFU.”

Born in the Bahamas, Smith rose through the ranks after embracing comedy full-time at the age of 19. He has since gained significant notoriety, being featured on comedy programs such as Comedy Central’s “Premium Blend,” BET’s “Comic View” and HBO’s “Def Jam Comedy.” He’s also been featured in a number of commercials, doing bids for McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, Blockbuster and the Illinois Lottery.

Smith’s style of comedy is far from racy, touching on everything from the funny T-shirt his girlfriend made him wear on the night of a performance to comical riffs and rants about Black History Month, homelessness and his frustrations with women.

He’s even taken a few of his rants directly to the people, giving impromptu stand-up routines in public places such as trolleys, parks and street corners.

Some have likened his style of comedy to that of Dave Chapelle in that Smith addresses social issues through his comedy, but in a way that is palatable to people from just about every background.

“He addresses social issues, politics and a wide range of other topics,” Curro said. “His style isn’t offensive to anyone and is geared towards college humor, as he tailors his acts to the specific colleges he’s performing at.”

The event takes place at 8 p.m. tonight in Chumash Auditorium. It is free for students with a valid PolyCard and $10 for community members.

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