Face Value: Seth Weitberg


Member of DUI (Duke University Improv), actor in Hoof 'n' Horn, stand-up comedian at Charlie Goodnight's, president of Wayne Manor, gourmet cook, singer, guitarist, former Pitchfork, playwright, and poet

Describe yourself in three words:

Outgoing, loving, analytical

Describe Duke in three words:

Young, evolving, optimistic

Why Duke?

When I visited, I liked the character of the people here. In every sort of arena, I felt like people at Duke were very competitive, very motivated. So they were very into what they were doing academically but it didn't define them; it wasn't the entirety of their pursuits.

Seth Weitberg

photo by Chris Hildreth

What one thing would you change about Duke?

I think I would change the implicit social caste system that is here. It is not intentioned but there is this vision that is broken down by selective house and fraternity, and although there is some crossover there is this structure that's in place.

Who is your favorite person?

My mom.

What do you value?

Passion and truth, and I mean passion in the sense of people being passionate about an interest.

In his words:

It took me a long time to figure out what I love doing. I thought I would stay in academia because I love to help people understand things and open people's minds, too, and then at some point I realized that the love I had for comedy was something I should pursue. I thought, I could go on and teach for the next sixty years but there's a shelf life with comedy and why not try. If I fall on my face, whatever. There's something about comedy that accomplishes the same things that teaching does. I mean, the best comics take truth and put it in a perspective that forces you to examine it, and it allows you this unique opportunity to explore politics and art and make intense criticism and analysis. And it's a bit more palatable that way. I really enjoy the fact that with DUI I can go into a dorm or Page Auditorium and for an hour or two alleviate some of the stress of being in this high-pressure Duke environment. I started doing it in high school and then I came to Duke and saw the orientation show and found myself dying to be on stage doing what DUI was doing. So I auditioned and was lucky enough to get in. It's a cheap endeavor and all the money we raise we give to charity. We give it to the Scott Carter Foundation for pediatric cancer research. I think it's important to make whatever you're doing as enjoyable as possible. If you don't force yourself to be creative with work, you find yourself just running in circles. Creativity for me is a necessity. I just get bored too easily.

A joint project of University Photography and Duke Magazine, Face Value is an evolving gallery of portraits displayed in Perkins Library and represented in the magazine.
By capturing these individuals in images and words, the project celebrates some of the staff, faculty, and students whose contributions define a diverse community. Portrait by Chris Hildreth

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