Published: Feb. 22, 2017

If you go
Who: Open to the public
What: Fools for a Day Award
When: Tuesday, April 4, 6:30 p.m.
Where: Old Main Chapel

The role of the fool has deep origins in human society. In the past, kings and queens recognized the value—really, the necessity—of appointing fools who would speak openly and even festively of uncomfortable matters that would otherwise proliferate and fester.

By breaking the spell of caution, timidity and fear that held others under its power, fools dissipated and dispelled a society’s accumulation of bad luck. Composed of the world’s strangest blend of wisdom and nonsense, this tradition fell into disrepair because of a mistaken notion that fools were no longer needed in democracies. The Center of the American West does not believe this is true!

On April Fool’s Day 2015, Patty Limerick, official University of Colorado fool as well as official fool emerita of Yale University and Harvard University, spoke on the “Fool’s Enterprise: A Personal History.” The talk also kicked off the Center of the American West’s Humor Initiative, an enterprise conceived to celebrate those individuals whose skills and temperaments support the central conviction of the Center of the American West: A dose of good humor is essential to constructive public discussion, and not coincidentally, to public health.

Ian and Cora Frazier

2017 Fools for a Day Award recipients Ian and Cora Frazier

The centerpiece of the Humor Initiative is the Distinguished Visiting Fool for a Day Award, which is presented once a year on the CU Boulder campus. This year, the Fool for a Day Award has been given to father-daughter duo Ian Frazier and Cora Frazier, both humorists who write for The New Yorker magazine and a host of other outlets.

On April 4, the Fraziers will accept their award and join Limerick for a discussion on applying humor to a range of contemporary issues. Don’t expect a dour evening filled with flow charts and analytics. This night will feature free-roaming conversations, jokes, readings, plenty of laughter and perhaps even a surprise treat for the audience!

The event will be held on campus at Old Main Chapel and is free and open to the public.