Iowa State alumnus tours with comedian Jo Koy

Andrew Lopez visited his family in Iowa this summer and stopped by campus. 

Sydney Novak

Andrew Lopez graduated from Iowa State in 2012 with a major in communications. Immediately after graduating, he moved to Los Angeles to pursue his dream of becoming a filmmaker. 

Currently, Lopez acts, writes and does standup in LA.

“I’m a stand-up comedian and an actor, I do everything and I try not to be sad, that’s my day to day,” Lopez said.

As a student at Iowa State, Lopez was very involved on campus. He worked at the Maintenance Shop in the Memorial Union, was on the Ethos magazine staff and helped organize VEISHEA when it was still around. He was also involved with Grandma Mojo’s improv troupe and would perform standup at the Maintenance Shop open mic nights. 

“I worked at the M-Shop in the morning selling tickets there, then I was the Student Union Board performing arts president, I did VEISHA booking, I would not go to my classes and then at night I performed a lot,” Lopez said. 

The first time Lopez did standup was at VEISHA in 2009, at a stand-up competition called “VEISHA Says I’m Funny” where he placed third. 

Working for the Student Union Board, Lopez was responsible for booking stand-up acts to perform at Iowa State. He had the idea that by booking these comedians, he would then have the opportunity to open for them and then try to become their friends. Between 2009 and 2012 he opened for comedians like Donald Glover, Pete Davidson, T.J Miller, Bo Burnham and Nick Offerman.

Immediately after graduating in May 2012, Lopez had an interview at Creative Artists Agency in LA after working with them through the Student Union Board. He moved to LA with $250 and nowhere to stay. He was offered the job six months later. 

“I moved into a crack house in Koreatown, I worked at a coffee shop two days a week and a Best Buy one day a week, and I cried for like four months,” Lopez said. 

The only other person Lopez knew was Ty Stafford, an Iowa State alumnus who was working at Red Bull at the time. They had met working at “Varieties” at Iowa State, which was a talent show for the fraternities on campus. 

Tyler was really a vital role for me, Lopez said. 

In 2018, Lopez had an acting role in the movie “Blockers.” Shortly after the premiere, Lopez was eating at a restaurant when he saw his favorite comic, Jo Koy, seated at a nearby table.

“My movie had just premiered, he had just won stand-up comic of the year in 2018, he’s Filipino, I’m Filipino, we were at a Filipino restaurant and he was sitting next to me,” Lopez said. “I’m gonna walk up to him and ask if I can work with him.”

This interaction resulted in Lopez touring with Koy for two years and earning a producer credit on his stand-up special “In His Elements.” During the tour, Lopez was able to travel to the Philippines and meet family there he had never met. 

In addition to working in comedy, Lopez has also worked on a variety of movie sets — “Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,” “Neighbors 2” and “The House.” 

“I spent like six months working with Will Ferrell every day and like six months hanging out with Seth Rogen every day on ‘Neighbors’ and Adam DeVine and Zac Efron on ‘Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates,’” Lopez said. 

Lopez’s advice to students who aspire to be in show business and the performing arts is to just do it and you will find yourself along the way.

“Just look up from your phone, look around, talk to people and the people in your environment will help you get where you wanna go,” Lopez said.

In the future, Lopez hopes to continue working in film. He hopes to create something that is true and honest and evokes emotion in others the way his favorite movie does. 

“My favorite movie is ‘When Harry Met Sally,’ I remember watching it when I was a kid and crying my eyes out,” Lopez said.

He is currently working with FX to write and star in a TV show called “Iowa” about a fictionalized version of his life in Ames postcollege graduation.