Actor and comedian Rainn Wilson spoke to UK students via Zoom on May 1st as part of the Student Activities Board’s SpeakBlue Distinguished Speaker Series. Wilson is SAB’s first virtual SpeakBlue speaker.
Due to COVID-19, SAB has had to readjust its plans for the semester, which meant taking Wilson’s SpeakBlue event online.
“We had been in talks with his agent and him and had planned for him to come in-person prior to COVID-19, but with everything that’s happened, it was put on hold, and then we were able to reach back out and be able to host him virtually,” said SAB President Miya Leykauf.
Wilson is most notably known for his role as Dwight Schrute in the mockumentary sitcom “The Office,” and for his roles in the films: “Almost Famous,” “Super,” “The Rocker,” and “Juno.”
During his Zoom with UK students, Wilson discussed his life as an actor, his funniest memories from the set of “The Office,” his nonprofit work with the Mona Foundation and Lide Haiti, his podcast “Metaphysical Milkshake” and his book “The Bassoon King.”
He also paid homage to the infamous Dwight Schrute quote, “Identity theft is not a joke, Jim,” by changing his name on Zoom throughout the livestream.
Wilson arrived in the Zoom as “Steve Carell,” then preceded to change his name throughout the Zoom to names such as “Oprah Winfrey” and “Kody Frey,” UK communications professor and Zoom moderator. He ended with the name “Go Wildcats!”
Around 200 UK students attended the Zoom.
UK junior Emma Rogers was one of the student attendees.
“It is so awesome that SAB was able to bring in Rainn Wilson as he is someone I grew up with on my TV and movie screens and had a huge influence on my sense of humor. Hearing his advice that “our failures are our biggest successes” was very inspirational, especially during this time in our college careers,” said Rogers.
SAB has hosted over 30 virtual events for UK students over the past month, and Wilson’s SpeakBlue event will conclude SAB’s events for the semester.
These virtual events included a TikTok dance challenge, “Tiger King” trivia, student caricature drawings and a moderated discussion with pro basketball player and UK alum Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.
“It’s been a bit of an adjustment,” said Leykauf of taking SAB digital. “Engagement looks different when people aren’t on-campus.”
Because this was SAB’s last event for the semester, there are not any upcoming confirmed events, but SAB is currently planning its summer schedule.
“Nothing is confirmed yet because we are still trying to figure it out, but we have been in discussion about summer programming. We are looking to see if there is a want for that from students,” said Leykauf.
All future SAB events will be announced on their website www.uksab.org.