Gaffigan performance brings laughs, burgers

Comedian Jim Gaffigan performs as part of his White Bread tour at the Singletary Center on Saturday, February 21, 2015 in Lexington, Ky. Photo by Adam Pennavaria

By Anne Halliwell

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The night began with stand-up comedy and ended with cheeseburgers and fries at the Student Activities Board’s evening with Jim Gaffigan Saturday night.

The food was served – on silver platters, no less – as result of a Twitter exchange during the Super Bowl on Feb. 1.

In response to McDonald’s “Pay with Lovin’” commercial, Gaffigan had tweeted, “As long as McDonald’s doesn’t make us pay with exercise.”

The McDonald’s account proposed a trade – five jumping jacks at his next U.S. show would mean free McDonald’s for the audience.

As the audience counted, Gaffigan performed five jumping jacks to secure about 750 free servings of burgers, breakfast sandwiches and french fries.

Tyler Lichtenberger, the communications manager for McDonald’s U.S.A,, said that she came to UK specifically to follow through on the deal.

The people monitoring online conversation about the McDonald’s ad during the Super Bowl proposed the exchange straightaway.

“And I said, ‘Where is his next U.S. show?” Lichtenberger added. “This is a tremendous opportunity.”

Lichtenberger credited the university and SAB for helping coordinate the event.

“First thing, we didn’t really know, would this school let us come in and do this?” Lichtenberger said. “We have never paid off a Twitter interaction before.”

Olivia Senter, SAB’s public relations chair, called the follow-through a “funny PR thing.”

“Our main goal was ‘Yes, it could happen, but not take away from the event,’” she said.

As the crowd moved slowly out of the Singletary Center, some picked up colorful buttons from the tables.

The trash cans near the doors slowly filled with white paper bags.

Miriam Siegel, a graduate student in the college of public health, waited in line for the next tray of bags to come through the Singletary Center.

“I thought he was really funny,” Siegel said of her favorite comedian. “I think people were quoting along with some of his jokes.”

Senter said that more tickets were sold to the general public than to UK students – a shift in the average age that was highlighted when the audience filled in several of the lyrics to jingles from the 70s that Tom Shillue used in his opening act.

Brenton Smith, the pop culture chair for SAB, said he noticed that grad students and older TA’s were excited for the show.

Senter agreed that an older demographic may have been more attracted to the show, “since we offer very unique events at very unique prices.”

“He’s a very funny guy, he’s always very popular on our survey with UK students,” Smith said.