Party Boy Columbia Drug Dealer On ‘Rock Center’ Tonight

It’s been almost two years since “Operation Ivy League,” the NYPD sting that found five Columbia University students selling over $10,000 in cocaine, pot, ecstasy, Adderall, and LSD to undercover cops. Tonight, one of the Columbia Five — Stephan Vincenzo, the cool one — will be on NBC’s Rock Center to speak about drugs and stuff.

As a refresher on Vincenzo’s cred, you can check out this Blue and White profile, or the Gawker writeup on “da sickest party” (sans booze) he attempted to throw his freshman year. Or, just admire his modeling shots.

Video preview of his interview below:

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Conan and Tyra Talk Harvard, Overall Attractiveness of the Student Body

Last night on Conan, supermodel/media personality/future leader of the free world (probably) Tyra Banks sat down with Conan O’Brien to discuss her time attending Harvard Business School. Conan, a Harvard alum himself — and more aware than most what a paradox this is — managed to throw a few jokes about his alma mater into the discussion. Here are some highlights of the interview:

  • Harvard Business School is making Tyra live in the dorms while class is in session. OH THE HORROR!
  • Conan can’t figure out why Harvard guys aren’t hitting on Tyra, then realizes why approximately two seconds later.
  • Conan compares some of the female students at Harvard to  “Emily Dickinson after a bike accident.” Ouch.

Enjoy the whole clip below! (At the four-minute mark, though, she starts talking about smizing. At that point, we fully encourage you to close the window.)

Weekend Reading: IvyGate Talks to Simon Rich

Simon Rich, a former Harvard Lampoon president and 2007 graduate, just published his first novel, Elliot Allagash (which we heartily recommend!), following two collections of short humor pieces. Allagash follows a socially challenged high schooler who gets a social makeover from Elliot, a pubescent robber-baron, and ends up – spoilers ahoy! – getting into Harvard. Rich spoke to IvyGate from his office at Saturday Night Live, where he’s a writer, about the Lampoon, his writing, and what comes next.

So what was your high school experience like?

I had a pretty fun high school experience – I went to Dalton, this high-pressure prep school in Manhattan. My experience was great, I had a great time, I had lots of friends – very different from the characters in this novel. There have been a lot of comparisons by journalists between the fictional school and Dalton. I don’t think that’s fair.

Did you get involved in humor there? Did you want to go on to Harvard because of the Lampoon?

We had a terrible humor magazine that we started called Liquid Smoke – it was awful. Luckily no one read it – it could be as bad as we wanted. The Lampoon was the same way. Nobody really reads it – if it’s terrible no one will know. I was there my first semester. I always knew about it. I was one of the only people in the world who read it in high school, and so many of my favorite shows were written by Lampoon guys – especially The Simpsons.

Did you know anyone who, like Elliot, obviously lied on their college application?

I always thought it was such a funny concept that you have to write a personal essay to get into a school, where the general tone of the essay is one of humility and it’s surrounded by lists of your achievements. One of the reasons I wanted to write Elliot Allagash was I always wanted to do a parody of an application – that’s kind of the centerpiece of EA. That was one of my favorite parts of the book to write – I was excited when the month came for me to write that.

Were you aiming this novel at kids in the college application process, or at adults? It kind of speaks more to people who come through the process.

I was mostly thinking of college kids for some reason – I hope high school kids would like it too. But he themes in it – it’s full of scams, and pranks, and cheating strategies – when you think about it, those don’t just happen in high school and college.

What pranks did you pull in college?

One of my favorite pranks was really low-key: there was an acapella group called the Din and Tonics, and they’d go to a lecture class and get the professor to let them sing for five minutes. The Lampoon went to the biggest class and pretended to be them and sang really horribly – and we planted other Lampoon members in the audience to boo.

We once sent a letter to all the incoming freshman and said there’d been a botulism outbreak and said they needed to submit to health services a stool sample – and we stapled a bag to the letter. There was a line of one hundred kids outside, and their bags all had holes from the staples. It was that kind of ridiculous club. We should have been doing something worthwhile.

So there is a sense of community in the Lampoon?

We tend to find that nobody else wants to hang out with us – we’re not very socially adept. At Harvard, Lampoon kids were considered nerds by Harvard standards – which is like being called “Killer” in a max security prison – Renaissance Faire kids would be like, “What are those dorks doing?”

What’s up next for you?

I just sold another book called What in God’s Name – it’s about an ambitious young angel trying to claw his way up the hierarchy. If anyone at IvyGate can think of an ending, send it along!

Do you have any advice for young humor writers? Was Harvard a good launching pad for you, or would you have done it differently?

It really was – I’m too young to be giving anyone any advice – the great thing about the Lampoon was that it was a place where you could sit in the basement and write jokes for four years. Nobody thought you were weird when you went down to the basement and write jokes – that was normal there. The only way to get better at writing is to write. I still feel like I have a lot to learn, but whenever I get better it’s only through practice.

Ying, Yang Yak with Feminists

BREAKING NEWS: the Ying Yang twins didn’t go to college! The closest they’ve gotten? Galumphing across stage to slurred renditions of fratboy anthems at Yale’s Spring Fling, this Tuesday. Clad in the typical obsolete hood boy raiment (doo-rag, red colors, gratuitous night-sunglasses), they sat down, unabashedly, for an interview with Yale’s first Feminist Magazine, Broad Recognition (their first mistake) before taking the stage. Their mission: to quash much of the controversy surrounding them. They preached the values of a quality education:

Cuz nowa days, you ain’t got no diploma you can’t even work at McDonald’s, dammit!

They espoused their significantly independent brand of music:

We, our main objective as the Ying Yang Twins was to make hype songs for women that work in the strip club.

They reassured us of their sensitivity towards the disabled:

They say we was at Yale. I thought all the deaf peo ple was here cuz they said Yale. [Laughs]

They related the inherent flaws of religion (and with it, the power of the adjective):

Religious is nothing but a pawn of slavery

And, most importantly, they clarified their stance on sexuality:

If you like penis, say you like penis. If you like kitty cat, say you like kitty cat.

Most impressively, they even had time to dive into Chinese philosophy:

Yang: My brother’s more of the peace; I’m more of the war.

One-liners aside, one thing is for certain: Yalies certainly have good taste in men.

Exclusive! Interview With the Columbia Freshman Tom Colicchio Loathes

Jason Bell, Columbia ’13, has ignited a firestorm with his Spectator review of Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio’s new restaurant, Colicchio & Sons. Colicchio even called New York to take the magazine to task for “reprinting reviews from college newspapers.” This weekend, we spoke to Bell exclusively about his passion for food — and food writing — and what he thinks of his critics.

IvyGate: Did you have any idea when you got to Columbia that you’d get involved in food criticism?

Jason Bell: Well, when I got to Columbia, I had no idea tht I was going to be involved with food writing at all. I was at an activities fair and signed up only to write on the Food section [of Spec] because I’d been involved in food sciences, and Science Olympiad. I always loved reading Michael Ruhlman, Gourmet, M.F.K. Fisher – who is like a much older food writer. That old-school food writing interested me in high school.

IG: Why did you assign such a plum review to yourself — do you have a staff under you? How’d the article come into being?

JB: I do have a staff under me, and I usually assign out – on the weekends, Arts has a section called Neighborhood Watch, and this, Colicchio And Sons, was supposed to run on the section for Chelsea and the Meatpacking District – but we moved it into this weekend to keep it relevant, and I wanted to take part in the dialogue among food writers in this city.

Read the rest of this entry »

Connor Diemand-Yauman Speaks!

Connor Diemand-Yauman — Pyne Prize winner, pouting/pushuping supermodel, Princeton senior — (pictured here with Princeton President Shirley Tilghman) spoke to IvyGate about his future teaching English in South Korea and those insane photos.

What does winning the Pyne Prize mean to you?

Winning the Pyne was an incredible, unexpected honor. At first I thought it meant that a lot of my professors and the others who recommended me for the award made a terrible mistake. Since the dust has settled though, I like to think that my winning the Pyne shows that people have recognized my commitment to Princeton and getting as much out of my college experience as possible.

What activities or qualities do you think you had that led to winning this prize?

I do my best to keep things in perspective. I’ve sincerely enjoyed the work that I’ve done while at Princeton, but I’ve tried to remember that while the activities/initiatives that I’m involved in may be extremely important to me, some, if not most other people couldn’t care less. I try to bring that levity and sense of perspective into everything that I do. I think that has helped.

Who suggested the “thug” pose with your University President? What was the motivation, and are you happy with the photo?

I suggested the photo. While I was in office, some students seemed to prefer that their student reps be angry and antagonistic with top administrators, despite the fact that our student government has absolutely no control over University policy without administrative support and collaboration. My administration used a more conciliatory, strategic approach and we accomplished a lot as a result.

The BAMF stance, as you guys called it, was supposed to poke fun at this expectation that we be angry and at odds with one another. I think the picture is hilarious.

What about the push-ups? Were you nervous Gen. Petraeus would do more push-ups than you? Who suggested it?

I suggested it. How many opportunities do you have to challenge one of the highest ranked generals in the US army to a pushup contest?

Unfortunately, we didn’t really get to have a contest after General Petraeus and I asked Congressman Jim Leach to join in. Because we didn’t want the 67 year old congressman to have a stroke, we settled for a couple push ups and a nice photo op. I think that was a wise decision.

I’m probably lucky we stopped there — Petraeus would’ve destroyed me. He’s a machine.

Why did you take goofy pictures at your ceremony? Were you worried it’d make you seem less serious?

I try to avoid being serious when I can. Plus, given the nature of the event, I didn’t feel like I had anything to prove. I was just happy to be there and I wanted to have a good time.

What are you up to in the future? Will your prize help?

Right now I’m trying to secure plans to briefly volunteer with the Global Literacy Project in St. Vincent and the Grenandines. After that, I’ll be heading to South Korea where I’ll be filming and writing English educational videos, hopefully on my own show if everything pans out as promised.