Comedy College has showcase, now on hiatus


Dalton Gackle/Iowa State Daily

Alex Karnish, freshman in biology, performs a comedy set at Comedy College on April 19.

Dalton Gackle

April 19 and 20 featured the last Comedy College showcase nights for the foreseeable future.

According to Gavin Jerome, the Comedy College instructor, higher-ups, such as the provost, were not willing to secure funds for Comedy College to continue through the University Honors Program. The Honors Program was looking to secure the budget for the future of Comedy College and designate Jerome as a member of Iowa State University through a title such as artist in residence.

Many Comedy College graduates are saddened by the news.

“It’s a shame that Comedy College is not going to run next year,” said sophomore in journalism, Jamie Steyer, a graduate from the third semester of Comedy College.

The students who take the class find plenty of value in it.

For one, students are able to forge friendships by getting to know other people’s humor.

“What do you do when you are making new friends?” asked freshman in biosystems engineering, Josh Popoola. “You tell each other jokes.”

Popoola closed the second night with a bang. He had one of the tightest sets I have seen from any student comedian. His main focus was telling the story of Ferguson, where he is from, and how one rib joint, Red’s Ribs, has survived everything that has gone on there.

“You can’t touch Red’s Ribs,” Popoola said, impersonating Red, the owner.

Comedy College helps most students with public speaking ability.

“Comedy College is a good way to get people to open up,” said freshman in biology, Alex Karnish.

Karnish was certainly open on stage. He rocked the m-shop, having one of the most successful routines of the first night. Karnish made fun of engineers and their confidence in the future, Ted Cruz, and Tinder users.

Public speaking is scary for most, and Comedy College pushes students past that fear.

“You have to get up and talk in front of others, which is many people’s biggest fear,” said freshman in pre-architecture, Emma Georgeff. “Comedy College just gives you a certain confidence after you get out here, so now you think you can do anything.”

Georgeff had one of the most unique styles I have seen from a comedian, student or professional. She began her set by asking the audience, ‘Who here poops?’. Most people would not be able to get away with that, but it just attracted the audience to Georgeff more.

Getting over a public speaking fear is a big deal, especially for college students seeking to further their careers.

“Every other engineer I have talked to has said ‘I am engineer, but I’m also funny, and I can communicate, and I will kill it at the next career fair – and I think that comes from Comedy College,” Popoola said. “That’s what we work on: timing and being able to sell yourself. That’s what Comedy College is about.”

The students don’t want to see Comedy College end. They want others to be able to experience the value in the program.

“I would recommend this experience to anyone,” Popoola said. “There is nothing else like this.”

Jerome said that he has been shopping Comedy College around to other departments, especially ones related to communication, though no one has green-lighted, or even yellow-lighted the program.

If for no other reason, a new department could pick up Comedy College, or the provost could reconsider, because students love it and it makes Iowa State unique.

“It’s one of the best things I’ve done at Iowa State,” Karnish said.