By Kerie Kerstetter
Andrew Goldberg has been used to crossing the lines of comedy since he started writing for television.
“I’ve actually been writing for TV since I was about 15 or 16 years old for public access station for a show named ‘Prime Time with Dan and Andrew,’” Goldberg said in a meeting with students hosted by the Mallet Assembly Tuesday at the Riverside Community Center. “It had several sketches, and one of them was ‘Name that STD.’ Parents complained after it was on there once, and it got pulled off.”
These days, Goldberg usually speaks for the characters of the Griffin Family. Tonight, however, he will be speaking for himself.
Goldberg is a writer for the popular television show “Family Guy,” an animated series that parodies American society. Tonight in the Ferguson Center, he will be addressing popular culture as a venue for generating discussion about social issues.
“Shows like ‘Family Guy’ have become popular among college-age students,” said Ross Bryan, director of residential communities. “The question is whether or not satire is the best way to go about highlighting social ills.”
Goldberg will be using never-before-seen clips from the show to lead his discussions. His topics tie into the events of Crimson Culture Week, which recognizes students from many different backgrounds that make up the UA community.
“The event will not only be an excellent way for students to meet Goldberg,” Bryan said, “but it will also create public discourse on issues such race, class, gender and sexual orientation.”
At Riverside Tuesday, Goldberg screened a “Family Guy” clip featuring the philandering Quagmire’s father, and Goldberg said more will appear at Wednesday’s event. Mallet students also participated in a mock-up of the screening process for the show’s signature cutaway gags, voting for the best of six by a show of applause.
“The rule on ‘Family Guy’ is [that] if it gets a laugh, it stays in,” Goldberg said. “If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.”
Mallet students also acted out the six different cutaway gags. One of them was Coley Dains, a junior majoring in English.
“Basically, he just handed us a couple of scripts,” Dains said. “It was a really interesting look into the writing process of how they get those gag spots.”
Associate Dean of Students Melanie Miller has been responsible for organizing many of the Crimson Culture Week events. Miller said Goldberg’s topics will be both interesting and pertinent to UA students.
“Through Andrew Goldberg’s visit, students can learn to think more critically and to analyze social problems,” Miller said. “[This] includes analyzing the effectiveness of humor in dealing with social and cultural issues.”
Goldberg’s “Hot Topics” discussion will begin at 7 p.m. in the Ferguson Center East Dining Hall and will be followed by “Satire as Social Change” at 8:30 p.m. in the Ferguson Ballroom.
In addition to constructive discussion, Miller said the evening will also be filled with entertainment.
“Students will have the opportunity to have personal conversation with the writer of a very popular television series,” Miller said. “They will get to see new clips from the show, which of course, uses a lot of humor.”
Free food will be available beginning at 7 p.m. All discussions are free and open to the public.
UA Housing and Residential Communities, University Union, New College, Department of Telecommunications & Film, the College of Communications and Information Sciences and the Office of Student Media are sponsoring Goldberg’s visit.
Arts and Entertainment Editor Steven Nalley contributed reporting.