UC Riverside is home to many things, including citrus, scientific research and tartan. However, upon coming to the campus for the first time in the fall, I immediately noticed an extreme lack of resources for students interested in arts and entertainment. Having started out as a red carpet host in high school, I was struck by the quiet media culture on campus — as my friends from Chapman and other campuses enjoyed university television stations, various newspapers and student-powered magazines. So when I heard of a student-led project called “UCR Late Night,” I was immediately excited for what potential it could have.
The show began at 6:30 p.m. to an audience of about 30 students. The host, fourth-year student Bryant Glover, is extremely smooth in his delivery of opening jokes, interviews and closing monologues — skills that take years to acquire. The opening monologue poked harmless fun at the decision to cancel Heat, the infamous smelly spring trees at UCR and the unpredictable weather of Southern California. What’s more, the interviews were not just fluffy conversations avoiding the actual issues, but were productive discussions about everyday concerns affecting the quality of education at UC Riverside.
The show offered a variety of special guests, including athletics director Tamica Smith Jones. Having joined the university this academic year, she explained her vision for the athletics department at the university. Although a football team is something she would love to see on campus soon, she explained that “I need butts in the seats now.” She continued that with low sporting game attendance comes the lack of encouragement to expand, so it is imperative that as students, we make it a point to support the athletes who work hard in their sports. Director Jones mentioned that while there have been pregame tailgate parties, the attendance has still been low — even with the enticement of free chicken.
Another faculty guest was lecturer Wallace Cleaves, who discussed how UCR ranked amongst other schools when non-traditional ranking metrics were used. UCR came in second on Washington Monthly’s scale, which examined how much the student body gave back to their respective communities.
Of course, it would not be late-night entertainment without some fun thrown into the mix. To close the show, Glover had student guest Daniel Glover and the audience play the UCR taxicab game, where they had to describe the location on campus they wanted to drive to, without actually naming the place. Some of the locations used were the botanical gardens, the Arts Building and Latitude 55.
Although it was a joy to watch, like any project, there is room for improvement, but with the cast’s hard work, natural talents and interesting content, the show is bound to stay.