Review: ISU Afterdark performers deliver some powerful truths


Jillian Alt/Iowa State Daily

Comedian James Davis brings the laughs to the Great Hall of the Memorial Union Friday night for the final ISU Afterdark of the year.


Friday night was the last ISU AfterDark of the year. While this signals the end of the semester, both acts delivered performances that highlighted issues in our world that carry on outside of the classroom, or even college.

James Davis, a stand-up comedian known for his show “Hood Adjacent,” performed at 9 p.m. in the Great Hall. The show started 10 minutes late, but the wait was worth it. 

Davis started out with jokes about how cold Iowa weather is, about how we are obsessed with sandwiches, and some “dos and don’ts” of social media. He joked about the neighborhood in Los Angeles where he grew up. It wasn’t the hood, it was the one right next to the hood. 

Davis interacted with the audience between jokes about what he should be called if he were a professional golfer (it was BBQ Davis), among others.

Davis wove comedy into some dark topics some people don’t enjoy talking about. For instance, he spoke seriously about the #METOO movement. He told the guys that there are things you just cannot do. He would talk about issues that make people uncomfortable. However, he would make them serious, but he would also show you where the comedy could be found underneath the pain.

Overall, Davis good show covering a wide range of topics. 

Here is where I have to be honest, I do not watch “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette.” I never have, and I doubt I ever will. I know nothing about the process, about the people, or about really anything to do with the show. That being said, Kaitlyn Bristowe surprised me, but she surprised me in a good way. 

I was expecting Bristowe to talk about the show, and let me tell you it was educational for someone who hasn’t seen it. Noting she was out of her contract, Bristowe spoke on the editing process. She said that what we see on television is real, but it is edited. Her favorite moment that happened off camera, much to the producers’ dismay, was when she told her pick, Shawn, that she loved him.

She also talked about what she has learned from working on the show. Having gone on “The Bachelor” at the age of 30, she discovered the world of online bullying extended to even her. Since then, she has been an advocate for anti-bullying, and she is not afraid to call people out.

“Please don’t feed into [cyberbullying]. It is just, I am so passionate about this topic. If someone is bullying you, or even in the slightest way just trying to take you down a notch, it just says everything about them. It says nothing about you.” Bristowe said. “Anyone who has it in them to bully just needs a hug. They are all insecurities. It is a projection of their insecurities, and you cannot take it personally.”

Bristowe didn’t stop with bullying. She spoke on how her sexuality was portrayed on the show. She went into the friendships that came out of the show and how often she and Shawn keep in touch with people. She dove into her anxiety on the show, telling us stories about her hair falling out from stress.

“I suffered from [anxiety] for a long time. Then I had zero anxiety until I came off the show. I think it has a lot to do with pressure, just feeling pressure from people. I think I was very manipulated on the show where I started not to trust people I thought were my friends. Then coming out of the show people kind of use you like to get on your social media to try and get you to promote their product and you just start questioning people’s motives,” Bristowe said.

“I have always been a really trustworthy person, and I feel like I just found myself questioning people … I think it like a combination of being on TV and being produced and growing older and having worries,” Bristowe continued.

Yes, there were light moments about Shawn being a “helicopter dad” to their dog or whether or not she would let her future daughter go on “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette.” There were times she told us her past as a dancer and memories that went along with it. There were times when she talked about her fashion sense both in the past and now.

There were also these times when Kaitlyn Bristowe spoke on topics that were deep and meaningful, and that is what I will walk away from her Q&A with. I will walk away having been surprised about what goes on both on the show and in the life of one of the participants. If I am being honest, it was an extremely welcome, pleasant surprise.

For the last ISU AfterDark of the school year, it was a pretty good one. I am looking forward to seeing what the new school year has to bring for acts and entertainment. I will probably remember some of these last little lessons moving forward.