At first glance, it made no sense that I would be on a panel during Diversity and Inclusion Week at the University of Tennessee. Yet, there I sat on Thursday, alongside three comics from the Knoxville stand-up comedy scene. When Terry Wright jokingly asked why I was there, I replied that it must be because of my religion. Catholics make up only 2.6% of the local population.
Dr. Catherine Luther of the College of Communication & Information organized the panel. She first mentioned it as we were walking with a group from the FBI Knoxville Citizens Academy Alumni Association during the group’s field trip in July. Dr. Luther asked if I would be on her Humor & Diversity panel and if I knew any comedians who could be on it with me.
I immediately thought of Nate Cate, Kristine Kinsey and Terry Wright, all of whom I met during open-mic nights last year. I used Facebook to introduce the comics to the professor and vice versa. All three of the comedians agreed to do it, no questions asked.
A couple of students told Nate and Terry that this was the most interesting of the panels they attended during the four-day event. UT has posted the video of our panel, which you can watch below. You won’t see anything until 4:16 into the video and you won’t hear anything until the 5:12 mark, but you don’t miss anything important. Dr. Luther doesn’t hit me until 10:38.