Students had the doors of the Chumash Auditorium closed on them Friday, Jan. 20 after waiting in a 45-minute line to see an ASI sponsored comedy show.
Trevor Wallace, an internet sensation and stand-up comedian, was met with a full crowd upon his arrival to Cal Poly. As the auditorium filled to capacity, hundreds of students were left waiting outside, unable to get tickets.
The show was free for students with a PolyCard and was marketed online as well as on billboards around campus as a first-come, first-serve event rather than a ticketed event.
Many of those who attended the event were perplexed at the choice of venue, as student interest for the event was extremely high.
“Pretty much our whole dorm was excited to go, and I was really surprised to see that it was being held in the Chumash, just because I wasn’t sure how it would work with people being able to get in,” music freshman Frank Lang said.
People gathered at the University Union near the entrance to the event, but the majority of those waiting to enter the auditorium overflowed outside, queuing up on the sidewalk of Grand Avenue.
“I couldn’t see the end of the line,” business administration freshman Beau Colvin said. “Even though we got there 30 minutes early, I just called everyone that I knew was coming to say that there was no point in trying to get in.”
Lang voiced his concerns about this method while in line for the event, as more and more students joined the crowd waiting for the doors to open.
“I think that this maybe could have been avoided if people just knew beforehand if they were getting in or not,” he said. “I feel like it’s worse to wait in line for a long time and then not get in.”
Comedy events at Cal Poly have utilized tickets and been held in various venues in the past. In October 2022, Michelle Wolf performed in the Performing Arts Center to a sold-out crowd, without the issue of students being left outside due to capacity issues.
However, ASI program coordinator Missi Allison-Bullock gave insight as to why Trevor Wallace’s show was different from those that came before.
“Chumash is equipped with the quality production aspects and appropriate setup for a comedy event,” Allison-Bullock said. “And it’s the largest venue of its kind available that allows us to host the event provided free for students.”
The Chumash auditorium holds just under 1,000 people, with an in-house technician who coordinates the sound and lighting needed for a show like Wallace’s. The Performing Arts Center is the only other venue on campus bigger than the Chumash Auditorium suited for this type of event.
However, the Performing Arts Center is also used for non ASI-run events.
“There are different entities that schedule things in that facility specifically, and those are more community-based interests,” Allison-Bullock said.
According to the Performing Arts Center’s schedule, a conflicting event was being held in the venue by the Cal Poly Orchesis Dance Company on the same night as Wallace’s show, meaning the Chumash Auditorium was the best suited venue for the night.
The popularity of the event also opens up options for ASI events in the future.
“We’re surveying students to see where their interests are, and we’re serving a diverse range of student interests,” ASI Public Relations and Marketing Coordinator Dora Mountain said. “That’s our goal first and foremost. We want to see whatever the students want to see.”