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BG Falcon Media

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BG Falcon Media

The BG News
BG24 Newscast
November 30, 2023

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Smiley keeps it real for Homecoming crowd

Preach on, brother.

That was the reaction from the sold out crowd who laughed, cheered and stomped their way through Rickey Smiley’s stand-up routine Saturday night.

Smiley, a comedian who has been featured in “Friday After Next” and hosted a season of BET’s “Comicview,” struck a chord with the audience almost immediately.

He commanded the stage when he spoke, whether it was about being dropped off at Grandma’s house or getting respect back in the black community. The audience response was always the same. They applauded loudly, as if to say “Amen.”

A proud member of the Omega Psi Phi fraternity, Smiley was introduced after members of the Bowling Green chapter of Omega Psi Phi entertained the crowd with a step-show performance.

Greek pride was prevelant throughout the night as Smiley ran out on stage and name checked a number of sororities and fraternities. The Greeks would always respond with a boisterous bark, hoot or cheer.

Because of this instant connection with the audience, and his comedy being based on parts of everyday life that most of the crowd could relate to, Smiley was able to make a ballroom of over 1,000 people seem like a small an intimate club full of longtime friends.

“I’m just keepin’ it real,” he constantly reminded the audience as he talked about growing up as a poor black man in Alabama.


“He was real,” said Brieanna Bryant, freshman, who attended the show. “He wasn’t worried about what people thought.”

A lot of his material involved church.

“White churches get out on time,” Smiley said. “Black churches, if it starts at 11 we don’t start til 12 and we won’t get out until 5 o’ clock — on Thursday.”

He also complained about inappropriate behavior at funerals, whether it be from an overly emotional grandmother or young black men who decide the best time to launch a rap career is the funeral of a friend.

Some of his material was definitely not politically correct, but it never fazed Smiley or the audience. After he got a big laugh talking about a “special” cheerleader named Precious he assured the audience, “Y’all are going to hell with a scholarship.”

On a campus where almost 90 percent of the student population is white, the show was about 90 percent black and Hispanic. Many attendees appreciated the fact that a campus which they feel sometimes ignore the desires of its minority students had a show that spoke to them and that they could relate to.

“I think it gives another side of the story,” said Lance Johnson, sophomore and a member of Kappa Alpha Psi. “I appreciated [Smiley] breaking it down and giving a message.”

Much of the audience was made up of middle-aged adults, a mixture of parents of current students and alumni. They also appreciated Smiley’s message and the subjects he brought up.

“Anytime you can mix fun with a positive message, [students] absorb it better,” said Demetria Clark, who has a goddaughter who attends the University.

The message he preached was respect and responsibility, especially inside the black community. It was a theme throughout the evening, but he especially focused on it at the end of the night.

“Have some pride…” he implored to the audience. “Bill Cosby was right!” referencing some controversial comments made earlier this year about the state of the black community.

Speaking about the importance of the upcoming presidential election, he spoke about the need for young people to get involved.

“This country is not where it should be as far as racial relations,” he said. “Y’all better wake up and get pissed off.”

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