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Kelsey Cook (Augustin Detienne)
Fall 2018

A formula for funny

When Kelsey Cook ’11 was a junior in college she delivered her first stand-up performance during an open-mic night at a campus dining hall.

“You’re basically intruding on everyone’s dinner,” she recalls. Even if the crowd thought something was funny they had food in their mouth so she couldn’t really hear their reaction.

Cook has since made a name for herself in comedy and last spring made her stand-up debut on The Tonight Show and earned her first credit on Comedy Central.

She was also back on the road performing stand-up, including a weekend last April at the Spokane Comedy Club where a … » More …

Winter 2016

Welcome Back, Kotter—and George

George Hollingbery ’76 studied education at an interesting time, as the profession underwent significant change in the 1970s. Teachers began asking where the classroom began and ended, and how could they better reach and help students who learn in different ways.

During that time, Hollingbery says they all faithfully watched the TV sitcom Welcome Back, Kotter. Set in a Brooklyn remedial high school class, the show offered a glimpse into how “difficult” students could defy expectations.

Hollingbery, a fourth-generation Coug and grandson of legendary WSU football coach Babe Hollingbery, started teaching high school sociology and other classes in Lacey. Although he had all kinds … » More …

Spring 2012

Video: Creator of The Wire David Simon’s speech at WSU

David Simon, creator of gritty urban HBO drama The Wire, received the William Julius Wilson Award for the Advancement of Social Justice in September 2011. The award is named after eminent Harvard sociologist and Washington State University alumnus William Julius Wilson ’66 PhD.

When accepting the award at WSU, Simon spoke about building a just and equitable society, and the difficulties in achieving that goal.

You can read more about Simon’s visit to campus in The Wire: Urban drama, gritty reality, and Soc 496 ‘textbook’”

Time: 1 hr. 57 min.

Note: The video contains expletives.

Video courtesy KWSU

Spring 2012

The Wire: Urban drama, gritty reality, and Soc 496 “textbook”

It’s not exactly a typical day in class, even an upper-level sociology class geared towards the grittiest of urban realities.

The room is filled with the sound of gunfire. A projection screen shows a quartet of inner-city drug thieves pinned down behind a parked car. Each reloads his and her weapon. Their leader, the scarred and unflappable Omar Little, gives them a look and says, “Y’all ready? Let’s bang out.”

The four stand up, fire back in unison, and execute a retreat, with one killed by friendly fire.

Professor Gregory Hooks stops the tape. The room goes quiet.

“And why’d we watch that?” he asks.

» More …

Summer 2011

Buddy Levy: Historical investigator

In a fabulously snide review of the first episode of Brad Meltzer’s Decoded on the History Channel, a reviewer for The New York Times refers to investigator Buddy Levy, “who could be a bus driver but who is in fact an English professor at Washington State University and a freelance writer of magazine articles about adventure sports.”

Levy himself thinks that’s pretty funny.

“I’m cool with that,” he says. “I’m a bus driver who can write a narrative history of the Amazon.”

That narrative history, which our charming reviewer neglected to mention, is Levy’s latest book, River of Darkness: Francisco Orellana’s Legendary Voyage of Death … » More …