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IFC to Sponsor Williams Show

By Daniel C. Stevenson
Associate News Editor

Stand-up comedian Karen Williams will give two shows tonight in Kresge Auditorium sponsored by the Interfraternity Council. The first show is mandatory for all new students and begins at 7:30 p.m. A second show begins at 10:00 p.m. and is open to the MIT community.

Williams' show, entitled "Dealing with Difference - Humor in the 90's," is this year's traditional Thursday-night program for new students, according to Neal H. Dorow, assistant dean and adviser to fraternities, sororities, and living groups. Previous years' programs included discussions on diversity and sexuality.

"The theme of her presentation is going to be about building on differences," said IFC President Prashant B. Doshi '95. "I hope that people can come out of it with an open mind about different living groups, clubs, and organizations."

The beauty of Williams' act is that "she can combine humor with a message, and very few people can do that effectively," Doshi said.

Speaking about her shows, Williams said "some days I feel like a messenger, compelled to deliver the raw truth of a situation, bright side or dark," according to a press release. At other times, "I'm aware that I am a saleswoman and laughter is what I have to offer. The world needs a few good laughs right now, with the economy, AIDS, parenting, and crime on everybody's mind," she said.

Williams feels that "laughter is a great cathartic release." A good laugh "releases tension and eases some of life's pain. A good clean laugh makes us all feel better," she said.

IFC to foot bill

Doshi decided to bring Williams to MIT after hearing her speak during Bisexual, Gay, Lesbian Awareness Days last year. Doshi "was impressed with her presentation," according to Dorow.

Doshi attended Williams' talk at the invitation of Gays, Lesbians, Bisexuals, Transgenders, and Friends at MIT (GAMIT), Dorow said. GAMIT extended the invitation after Lambda Chi Alpha, the IFC, and GAMIT sponsored a talk by gay author and activist Warren Blumenfeld, Dorow said.

Doshi initially thought about having the IFC sponsor a show by Williams sometime during the fall term, Dorow said. However, after discussion with the Residence and Orientation Week Committee, the decision was made to have Williams appear as the Thursday-night speaker.

IFC was willing to take on the expenses, in the neighborhood of $5,000, for the speaking fee and overhead costs, Dorow said. "Prashant thought that it would be important for the IFC to do this," he said.