As the Loyola University-Chicago basketball team was carving its path to the Sweet 16, the university was making some news of its own at home. On Saturday night, a performance by stand-up comedian Hannibal Buress was short-lived as the university cut his mic five minutes into his set after he made a joke referencing the history of child sexual abuse cases that rocked the Catholic church.
According to the university’s newspaper, the Loyola Phoenix, Buress opened his set by displaying an email sent to him by the university that banned him from making jokes about rape, sexual abuse, race and sexual orientation during his set. Why the university booked Buress, who is known for his mix of off-center observations and unflinchingly honest humor, we can’t imagine, seeing as they essentially looked to ban him from performing his usual material. After he went through the email and alluded to the Catholic church’s history of child sexual abuse, his mic was cut, resulting in a showering of boos from the students in attendance who wanted Buress to continue performing.
The crowd quickly quieted as Buress, a Chicago native, attempted to continue his set without a microphone, saying (as first reported by Consequence of Sound), “Bitch ass old people, I can project,” before adding, “Y’all fuck kids, right?”
After the background music rose in volume, effectively drowning out the comic, he left the stage for roughly 15 minutes before returning to finish his set, commenting that he had planned to adhere to the university’s request before realizing that he had already been paid for the performance.
Buress’s performance wasn’t the only one cut short on Saturday evening. His opening act, DJ Tony Trimm, reportedly had his performance cut short as well, though the reason remains unknown.
The decision to silence Buress was met with frustration from those in attendance, with some taking to Twitter to make their feelings heard.
Buress also took to Twitter to voice his frustration with the university. In a tweet that has since been deleted, Buress said, “Weird way to celebrate Sweet 16,” in reference to the school’s basketball team defeating Tennessee earlier that evening.
The event, known as Colossus, is a yearly event at the university put on by the school’s Department of Programming, but DOP associate director Leslie Watland said that Student Development Administrators were responsible for decisions made during the show. “DOP students did not make any day-of decisions for Hannibal Buress’ show … Student Development Administrators made the decisions,” said Watland.
The university has yet to publicly comment on the matter.