Making People Laugh ‘Addictive’ to Mr. NDA XXII

Payton Van Pelt, Staff Writer, Advanced Journalism

“I wasn’t looking to win,” recalled senior Ben Lelinski,  “but instead to just have a memorable experience with my friends.”

On Saturday, December 2, Notre Dame crowned the 22nd Mr. NDA: Ben Lelinski.

He made a notable entrancing, donning a green kilt along with high white socks and crocs.

“I can be a pretty weird kid.  I love making people laugh. It’s addicting to me,” Lelinski stated.

His video was Cinderella themed; Lelinski was bullied by his two step brothers- Eric Weyker and Jack Flis-but saved by his fairy godmother: Senora Stover.

“My dad and I came up with the idea for the Cinderella-themed intro while we were at Menard’s a few days after I got voted in.”

Lelinski rode in on a red lawnmower and lost a croc on stage as he scuttled away. And in classic Cinderella style, he had his escort slip on his croc to the perfect fit.

Lelinski hasn’t shied from the stage before. He was apart of multiple Great Battle performances, including gnawing over hot wings against Logan Lemay in the Blazin Wing Challenge before the student body.

“I can honestly say I wasn’t nervous at  all. I don’t usually get nervous for stuff like this,” Lelinski said about his feelings before the show.

Lelinski sang Billy Joel’s “Piano Man” for his act, while sucking up helium from a large balloon.

“The fact that I could play harmonica and talk in funny voices to make people laugh was awesome,” Lelinski explained. “The idea came to me at one-thirty in the morning, the day before we had to present our final acts for the show.”

Lelinski was up against an abundance of colorful characters, some he’s been with since kindergarten. Yet, he obviously stood out to the judges.  

“I got up there and just acted like myself and it worked for me I suppose.”

Max Pallini won Mr. Congeniality, Paul Gapinski was Second Runner-Up, Ryan “Fuzz”  French got First Runner Up, and Ben Lelinski was crowned Mr. NDA 2017 at the denouement of the show.

“I was thankful that people liked the show, but I am still not too sure on how much I liked all the new attention I was getting,” said Lelinski.

Looking towards the future, Lelinski plans to participate in Mr. Titletown and represent the school well.

Ben thanked all the guys who participated, his friends, his family and, most importantly for him, God.

“ I think I can speak for most of the guys in Mr. NDA when I say we weren’t in it to beat each,” Lelinski recalled. “We were there to make a memory.”