By Thomas Regan
If Thursday morning finds Rider’s campus buzzing about the pilot episode of The Rider Tonight Show, its hosts will have considered the debut a success.
“[I want to put on a show] and make a whole crowd of people laugh and make something that people are going to want to talk about the next day,” said senior digital media major Dan Aymat, who will co-host the show with junior digital media major Evan Giguere.
The show will debut with a live performance in the Bart Luedeke Center on Nov. 11 at 8 p.m. and will feature President Gregory Dell’Omo and local comedian Sean Conner.
Dell’Omo will make the appearance just two weeks after slicing 14 academic programs and laying off 14 professors; however, Aymat does not plan on centering the script around the cuts.
“There were people asking us if we were going to go for him personally, you know, attack him for what he did,” Aymat said. “But that was never what the purpose of the show was supposed to be, and we’re going to stay true to what we want to do. And that was to make a light-hearted, fun comedy show.
“We just want to have fun show. Don’t get me wrong, we’re going to joke about it and make some jokes throughout the whole taping, but I’m not going to attack him after he’s been so supportive of the show and being a part of it.”
Aymat’s goal for the episode is to not only provide entertainment, but also grant the audience an opportunity to learn about Dell’Omo.
“I just want to have people want more of it — maybe even learn more about the president, more about me, and even in kind of a selfish way, I want people to recognize me. It’s terrible I know, but that’s a part of it.”
Both Aymat and Giguere expect The Rider Tonight Show to be similar to Jimmy Fallon’s show — with Aymat serving as the show’s Fallon and Giguere as its Steve Higgins.
“Jimmy Fallon is one of my heroes in entertainment right now,” Aymat said. “His ability to command the stage and make people laugh is something I strive for. I want this to be my own product, but no matter what, I always look at what Jimmy has been doing, and I take some tricks.”
Giguere believes he and Aymat make a strong comedic pair and explained that they expect the show to resemble other evening talk shows.
“Me and Dan have the same sense of humor, and we can bounce jokes off each other really well,” Giguere said. “It’s like any late-night show that you’d see on TV.”
Despite an earlier unsuccessful attempt to introduce a similar show, Aymat is eager to see this show take off and is certain there is no higher profile character than Dell’Omo to bring in for the first episode.
“In fact, last semester, I tried to put together a Chappelle’s Show rip-off, but I could never really get it off the ground,” he said. “Now that I have a better idea, it ended up being a little easier to do it this way. But I wanted Dell’Omo because I wanted to have somebody of a big profile on campus. I figured, who bigger than the president? He’s new, he seemed like a nice enough guy, and I thought it would be great to do it to make students know him better.”
In addition to the president, Conner, whom Aymat met in Rider’s pub, will also be a guest on the show.
“Sean’s a funny guy,” he said. “He was actually the comedian I had to follow on my first-ever day doing stand-up comedy, and he killed it. I mean he was really funny. And I got to know him through meeting him at the Brownwater open mic here in the Pub on Wednesday nights. And we were fortunate enough to have him on for our show.”
As for what students can look forward to, Giguere alluded to the possibility of Dell’Omo engaging in an activity that residence life would not condone.
“It’s going to be a really fun time,” he said. “And you might even get to see the president play water pong.”
For students who cannot attend the live event, the video will be posted on the Rider Tonight Facebook page and on Twitter at @RiderTonight.