Demand for Mulaney and Kroll tickets results in chaos, memes

Zack Klein posted this meme on the NU Meme Collective.

Zack Klein

Zack Klein posted this meme on the NU Meme Collective.

Paige Stern, news staff

Around 9 p.m. on Oct. 9, students across Northeastern’s campus counted down the seconds until the Council for University Programs released the tickets for this year’s homecoming headliners. But because of the high volume of students trying to buy tickets, the myNortheastern portal crashed, and some students accepted failure instead of tickets.

When the council, commonly known as CUP, announced that comedians John Mulaney and Nick Kroll would come to campus in November, many Northeastern students were thrilled.

Alyssa Schifano, a fourth-year design major with a concentration in graphic and information design, said she is a long-time fan of Mulaney and saw his show in 2017. She also became a fan of Kroll’s after seeing him and Mulaney collaborate on “Oh, Hello,” a Broadway show that became a Netflix special. “Just overall, I’m obsessed with John Mulaney and anybody he’s connected with.”

Second-year music industry major Zack Klein said he “freaked out” when three of his friends texted him about the event all at once. 

“My friends and I religiously watch ‘Oh, Hello’ all of the time,” Klein said. 

When the day of ticket sales arrived, students across campus gathered with friends, roommates and even their residence hall neighbors. 

Ethan Chen, a third-year computer engineering major, said he and his friends took a break from studying in Snell Library to try and get tickets. 

However, once Chen began the process, the site started to crash. 

“I couldn’t even click on the buy button, and it wouldn’t refresh, it just kept breaking,” he said. “I did that for about an hour and then I gave up.” 

Also fully prepared at the start of the sale, fourth-year pharmacy student Jenna Green said she shared a similar experience as she sat in her apartment waiting for the clock to strike 9 o’clock.

“I went on right at 9 p.m. It was very slow loading. I tried to click on ‘Get Tickets.’ I made it to ‘Select the Number’ and once I hit ‘Buy,’ it was ‘404 error,’” Green said.

Though Green’s roommate was able to make her way to checkout and purchase a ticket, Green was unable to purchase a ticket after the site was rebooted. 

A Northeastern University spokesperson explained the issue in an Oct. 23 email to The News.

“There was a temporary technical disruption due to the high volume of traffic to the site. The issue was resolved and the Center for Student Involvement worked to accommodate students who tried to purchase tickets during the disruption. Staff is also working to make sure that everyone who tries to purchase tickets online to future events will have a seamless experience,” the spokesperson wrote in the email.

For students like Schifano and Klein, the wait was more than worth it, and they were not going down without a fight. Schifano said the server failure led to her successful purchase.

“I had an alarm set for 9 o’clock that night from a week ahead of time,” she said. 

When it came time for the sale, Schifano’s alarm failed. “My roommate came out of his room at 9:10 p.m. and asked, ‘Are you buying tickets?’ And I said, ‘Oh my god!” 

In a panic, Schifano grabbed her computer, thinking the tickets would already be sold out. But when she opened the site, it was shut down. “I thought maybe this could be a good thing for me,” she said. By 10 p.m., the site had been relaunched, and both Schifano and her roommate were able to secure tickets to the show. 

Klein, on the other hand, watched his apartment slip into utter chaos as the servers crashed. 

“I knew they were going to sell out in two seconds, but I was ready,” Klein said. “I had my computer and my phone ready on the ticket website.” 

Klein didn’t expect the server failure. “When that happened, my roommates and I were in chaos. We were screaming at each other throughout our apartment.” But through it all, Klein and his roommates persevered, making it all the way to the order confirmation page. 

“At one point that night I accepted my fate, that I was going to have to buy these tickets off of someone else for $80,” Klein said. “But no, I finally got in, and I was so relieved, and I’m so excited. To see him live is going to be super exciting.”

In an Oct. 18 email to The News, CUP explained that as an organization run by students, the ticket issues on the myNortheastern portal were outside of their control.

“Unfortunately, the myNortheastern site was overwhelmed by the large number of students who logged in to purchase tickets that night, and the systems began to malfunction. However, everyone involved did their best to troubleshoot issues behind the scenes and communicate updates and changes to everyone as much as possible,” a CUP spokesperson wrote in the email.

The organization also said this year’s event “had higher ticket sales and a higher volume of people purchasing tickets on night one than in previous years.”

Regardless of whether or not they were able to buy tickets, Schifano, Klein, Green and Chen collectively received over 1,200 likes on their posts about the issue in the NU Meme Collective Facebook group that night. Klein alone received 545.

The support of Chen’s friends pushed him into the spotlight. “I’d never posted before and my friends were hyping me up. I was trying to get as many views as possible. It was pretty exhilarating, I’m not gonna lie.”

And for Klein, he reached a whole other level of stardom when CUP reposted his meme in the midst of the server failure. “Immediately when the server crashed, I thought, ‘I have to post a meme.’ I had never done it before and this was too easy.” 

In its email statement, CUP also wrote, “[w]e empathize with the student population’s frustrations, and we hope students understand that everyone involved in ticketing for this event worked tirelessly on the system issues as much as possible. CUP is very excited for the Homecoming Headliner and is continuing to work on many ongoing elements to make it the best it can possibly be. We are looking forward to a fantastic show! On behalf of CUP, thank you to the student population for your ongoing support, it is very much appreciated.” 

Schifano said she is grateful that CUP chose John Mulaney for homecoming. “I would like to thank CUP for making the best decision they possibly could’ve made. I’m just very thankful.”