College of Liberal Arts

- University of Mississippi

Newman, Pendarvis discuss gender and humor

Laraine Newman

Laraine Newman

“Saturday Night Live” alumna Laraine Newman and writer Jack Pendarvis will discuss the role of gender in humor in a panel entitled “A Guy and a Gal Walk into a Panel: What’s so Funny about Gender” on Tuesday at 6 p.m. in the Overby Center Auditorium on the University of Mississippi campus.

The free event is co-sponsored by the Sarah Isom Center for Women and Gender Studies, the Department of English and the MFA in Creative Writing Program, the University Lecture Series and the Department of Theatre Arts.

A reception will follow the panel discussion.

Newman, a native of Los Angeles, began her career at the age of 15 when the improv group she worked with was hired to bring culture and self-expression to the youth of East L.A. and South Central.

After high school she went to Paris and studied mime with Marcel Marceau — a fact that none of her comedian friends will ever let her live down.

At the age of 19, she appeared in the New Theatre For Now at the Mark Taper Forum and was accepted to the Theatre School at Cal Arts where she lasted three months. She went on to join another improv workshop that soon became The Groundlings.

In 1973, Newman appeared in a Lily Tomlin special produced by Lorne Michaels. Michaels later hired Newman for SNL, assuring her that it probably wouldn’t last more than 13 weeks.

On the big screen

Her more notable movie roles have been “Stardust Memories,” “American Hot Wax,” “Perfect” and “Problem Child 2.”

Newman’s most recent television appearances include “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” “7th Heaven” and “According To Jim” plus the upcoming “How To Live With Your Parents.”

She is contributing editor for the online food magazine OneForTheTable and has written for Esquire, The Jewish Journal, The LA Times Magazine, Worst Laid Plans, Strays, Huffington Post and The Believer.

She lives in Los Angeles with her husband of 23 years and her two daughters.

Jack Pendarvis

Jack Pendarvis

Pendarvis, a former Grisham Writer-in-Residence, was born in Alabama and after living in Atlanta for 14 years now resides in Oxford.

He teaches in the University of Mississippi MFA English program and is the author of two novels, “Shut Up, Ugly” and “Awesome!” and two collections of short stories, “The Mysterious Secret of the Valuable Treasure” and “Your Body is Changing.”

He is a columnist for The Oxford American and The Believer. His work has appeared in many other publications, including McSweeney’s, The New York Times, and the 2006 Pushcart Prize anthology.

He regularly shares his thoughts at jackpendarvis.blogspot.com.