The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Making a stand for laughter: Standup Comedy class to take the stage


There’s always one person who can’t stop making jokes in class. But in one Iowa class, students do nothing but make jokes. Now, they’re getting the opportunity to tell the jokes to an audience.

At 7:30 p.m. May 8, the students of Megan Gogerty’s Standup Comedy Practicum course will take the stage at the Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., for “It’s Only a Test.”

Gogerty, a lecturer in the Theater Department, said she hopes her students are ready. Going into the show, she wanted to make sure the students knew the laughs are not the end-all, be-all of their sets.

“Ironically, the comedian’s job isn’t to get laughs,” she said.

Instead, she believes they are merely “payment for the job.”

“[The set] could get laughs and could not get laughs,” Gogerty said. “I can’t control people. I can’t control whether or not they laugh … People can take it or leave it.”

Jaclyn Kain, a senior in the class, has learned over the course’s past 16 weeks that audiences respond to truth. They know when she’s embellishing, and in turn, she gets the most laughs when she tells the truth.

“As a performer, when you say those embellishments that aren’t true to yourself, the audience knows,” she said. “Be truthful to yourself — whether it be how terrible you are or how great you are — they’re going to enjoy it.”

UI senior Benjamin Kasl, a member of the Paperback Rhinos, recently crowned champions of the National College Improv Tournament, said the class came together as a community and the members supported each other as they went to local open-mike nights around Iowa City.

The developing friendships made the transition from improv to standup less nerve-racking for Kasl.

“[Improvisers] work as a unit,” Kasl said. “[With standup], it’s a lot more self-aware of how you’re being perceived on stage. That gives you more confidence as a performer.”

That doesn’t mean it’s easy, though.

“It’s still very scary,” Kasl admits. “[Gogerty] is trying to build a nice, supportive group of people to nurture and feel like they can share with things with each other in class and out of class.”

Like Kasl, Kain was also nervous before her first open mike. A semester later, with the help of her classmates, she feels much more confident in her set and the jokes she tells.

“I remember going to my first open mike having an anxiety attack,” she said. “I [was] freaking out.”

Now, days before the show, Kain believes that all the practice of the last year has brought her to a point where she finally feels prepared to take the stage.

“I’m a little nervous,” she said. “But I definitely feel like I’ve improved a lot.”

“It’s Only a Test” Comedy Showcase
When: 7:30 p.m. May 8
Where: Mill, 120 E. Burlington
Admission: Free





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