Saturday, January 10, 2009

Jericho returns to RRC; intrepid CreComm students on the job!

It's not often you get to hear the words "WWE Superstar" and "CreComm grad" in the same sentence.

But yesterday, WWE Superstar and CreComm grad Chris Jericho came back to Red River College to pick up his Distinguished Alumni Award in person.

To use the singular, that makes Jericho an RRC Distinguished Alumnus, which - as he points out in the RRC video below - makes him smarter than us.

It was great to see Jericho in person, but it was even better to see many second-year CreComm students on work placement, covering the event for their respective media outlets.

Among them:
  • Jess Hassard for the Winnipeg Free Press (with Mark Reimer on photog duty). Story here. Too bad they didn't post the picture of Jericho "choking" Program Chair Larry Partap online: it made it to page 2 of the print edition.
  • Ezra Ginsburg for the Winnipeg Sun. Story here. Too bad they didn't post the picture of Jericho "choking" student Jason Booth online: it made it to the masthead of the print edition.
  • More links to come. I also eagerly await seeing the first-year students' Projector story.
Other coverage:
  • Wrestling News World here.
Among the highlights of Jericho's speech:
  • He once considered calling himself "Jack Action," but later realized that "it sounds stupid."
  • When he started, the WWE wanted him to dress like a cowboy.
  • He very quickly qualified himself as an entertainer, not an athlete, putting to bed the oldest wrestling controversy in the book: "it's fake!"
  • He says he was fired from his XM satellite heavy-metal radio show for insulting Oprah Winfrey. "She has agents everywhere," he said.
  • He redefined CreComm's IPP acronym to stand for "Intense Personal Project.
  • He mentioned "Red River College" and "Creative Communications" a lot, and fondly remembered Chair Larry Partap and instructors Kent Gulbrantson and Chris Petty, who apparently still has his IPP and plans to sell it on eBay.
  • Jericho, RRC President Jeff Zabudsky, and student presenter Jason Booth all said the word "festoon," which we later dissected and defined in Duncan McMonagle's Journalism class.
  • One of Jericho's team was an older guy with earpiece and microphone, which he spoke into in regular, "out loud" speaking volume for the duration of Jericho's speech. And I thought cell phones were irritating...
The silliest controversy was that, in his speech, Jericho told a story about how he'd like a shirt for his friend that says, "I'm with Distinguished Alumnus" with an arrow pointing in his direction. Later, when RRC showed its video (see top of this article), Jericho told the same story. The crowd laughed at the repetition, and Jericho said something like, "I only have one joke!"

This is the kind of thing that teachers, comedians, performers, motivational speakers, businesspeople, and - whomever - do all the time: find a shtick that works and use it ad nauseum, until it stops working. Nothing controversial or different there to my ears, though some in attendance seemed to feel differently.

There was also some differences of opinion on whether Jericho came across as "genuine;" but, really, who among us can be defined as "genuine" or "phony?" Let ye among us without sin be the first to condemn, I say!

After the speech, Jericho stayed around for a full hour, doing interviews, signing autographs, posing for pictures, putting on Manitoba Moose and RRC jerseys, and essentially doing whatever anyone wanted him to do (except putting them in his "signature move," which he said he would hurt himself doing - a nice way to say, "No thanks" to a request he probably gets a lot).

I think it's very cool that Jericho took the time to come back to RRC, and that I work for a college that recognizes a grad in the performing arts - wrestling no less - as a Distinguished Alumnus. JERRRICCCCHHHHOOOO! OK, I feel better now.

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