Comedian Demetri Martin to entertain at the M.A.C. Center

Lisa Robertson

Demetri Martin — comedian, actor, former “Daily Show” correspondent and host of Comedy Central’s “Important Things with Demetri Martin” — is bringing his own particular brand of observational humor to campus.

Martin’s guitar-playing, oversized notepad writing quips will begin at 8 p.m. in the M.A.C. Center. The show, “An Evening with Demetri Martin,” is sponsored by Undergraduate Student Government.

Unfortunately, a preview interview with Martin was unattainable, despite repeated attempts to reach anyone remotely connected to representing or assisting him. The interview would have been lovely, but instead, here’s a rough guide to booking Martin and other on-campus revelry.

Jeff Hammond, USG’s director of programming, said booking Martin is part of the organization’s goal to land bigger names for on-campus events, which included hosting Drake last May and booking 30 Seconds to Mars for a concert on Oct. 8.

If you’ve ever wondered how artists are booked on campus, here’s your chance to find out. Acts are paid an appearance fee up front, which USG makes back from tickets sales. It also gets to split profits from merchandise sold at the shows, like CDs and T-shirts, 50/50 with the artists.

The organization’s budget comes from the university allocations committee and includes money from student tuition. Hammond added that USG does not make a profit on the shows, and that most times events end up as a cheap deal after the money spent comes back in ticket sales.

All of that money goes back into USG’s budget, which then turns around and uses the money to pay for more events.

“Good profits mean better programming in the spring, which benefits everyone,” Hammond said.

As of Sept. 8, 1,314 tickets had been sold for Martin’s show, said Joe Carr, box office manager for the M.A.C. Center ticket office. It has seating for 5,000, all of which are open for the Martin show.

Judy Ripple, senior business manager for the Center for Student Involvement, said bringing in Martin should end up costing between $70,000 and $80,000. Along with Martin’s fee, the cost includes honorary security, all setup, sound and lights.

For one night of a show that will probably only last an hour, Martin’s fee to appear is $50,000, Bob Burford of University Communications and Marketing said in an e-mail. In other words, the amount of money most students owe to this university after four to six years of college.

The most USG can spend on one act is $80,000, which means bringing in certain wished-for artists can be difficult.

Hammond offered up Lil’ Wayne as an example of an artist he gets a lot of student requests for, who is currently outside USG’s price range. Luckily for them, the rapper is currently serving a one-year prison sentence on gun possession charges.

It only took a week to book Martin, who has been booked since June. The October concert for 30 Seconds to Mars was booked in July. Hammond said the hardest part about booking artists is trying to find available artists who are in USG’s price range and will come to Kent.

Hammond said another major and “exciting” (according to him anyway) artist is booked for a Nov. 4 show but withheld the artist’s name. An announcement about that event should come at either Martin’s show or a few days after.

Even while having to think realistically, Hammond said USG does want student feedback about who they want to see come to Kent.

Hammond said the best way to keep getting popular artists to come to Kent State is simply students showing up to events. Positive word-of-mouth reaching artists, especially about attendance, can go a long way toward making on-campus events unforgettable nights out.

-Lisa Robertson [email protected].