By Claire Dalzon
Rider students had the opportunity to be part of the live studio audience for Rider University Network’s (R.U.N.) first episode of The Rider Tonight Show hosted by the student-managed TV station’s very own senior film, radio and TV major Dan Aymat on Nov. 11.
Inspired by NBC’s Emmy-award-winning The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, the premiere taping successfully mirrored a typical late night show stage. The school band served as the house entertainment, the classic three-seater couch was placed in the middle and there was a desk for the host and the special guest, President Gregory Dell’Omo.
With a camera crew spread throughout the Bart Luedeke Center Theater and a live studio audience of about 70, the spotlight hit Aymat and he enthusiastically introduced himself while also making sure to tell the audience what to expect throughout the night. Soon after embracing the applause and energy from the crowd, Aymat officially started the program with a comical and flawless monologue that could have come out of Fallon’s mouth. The host received roars of laughter by humorously commenting on topics like Ben Carson, dolphins “walking out” of Sea World with top hats, and the current Starbucks controversy. He even performed a Donald Trump impersonation.
Probably the most memorable part of the show was the awaited sit-down with Dell’Omo. The R.U.N. crew members were aware of some students’ distaste for the new president since the proposal of program cuts and faculty layoffs, so they were prepared for all types of reactions. However, the audience was asked to remain polite. With Dean of Students Anthony Campbell in the audience looking on, Dell’Omo was not only excited to be part of the show, he was notably engaged in the conversation with the hosts — a Cranberry’s delivery system and the importance of Chipotle were frequently mentioned — along with the success of the union talks and his future goals for the university.
“When Dan interviewed the president, it allowed me to see a more humane side to [Dell’Omo] because, over the past two weeks, he’s been painted as a villain,” said junior film, radio and TV major Khylah Jean, who served as the assistant for production and social media.
“My favorite part was seeing the confidence Dan Aymat had on stage,” said R.U.N. president and senior film, radio and TV major Carlos Delcid. “He was serious when needed and funny overall. The whole show was entertaining, and just having the opportunity to watch it was great.”
Donning matching black suits, Aymat and his announcer and partner, junior film, radio and TV major Evan Giguere, made quite the team, feeding off each other’s epic one-liners and silly remarks and making the show feel natural, especially during the two segments called “College Phrases You’re Used to Saying” and “Pros & Cons at Rider.” Aymat even included the audience, asking them to choose the best segment with the loudest applause.
“We, as a group, collaborated on most of the ideas, but the jokes and dialogue were mostly made by [sophomore film, radio and TV major] Colin Coyle and Dan,” said senior film, radio and TV major Jason Zoblin, who was part of the camera crew filming crowd reactions.
There were a few technical difficulties, but Aymat handled them like a true professional — blaming aliens for the faulty wiring noises.
High off his first “high-profile” interview, Aymat’s confidence grew as the night went on, and he later joyously presented local comedian Sean Conner, who entertained the audience for a few minutes talking about his amusing college experience. The two even played water pong to end the show. The host won, of course.
“For being a first-time production, the turnout was amazing,” said Delcid. “There is always room for improvement, but the people that were present got to experience an interesting show. There were laughs, and even though there were some hiccups, it was an amazing night.”
Printed in the 11/18/15 edition.