Comedian Kate Berlant performans experimental comedy for UI students


Chris Kalous

Kate Berlant performs during the CAB comedy show on Sunday, April 29, 2018 at the IMU.

The IMU was filled with laughter Sunday evening as comedian Kate Berlant performed her standup routine for students and community members.

The event was host by the University of Iowa Campus Activities Board as one of its numerous comedy events throughout the year. Comedy scouts work with CAB to bring various performers to the UI campus.

Berlant’s style consists of experimental comedy that incorporates the audience into the show. She also a part of Netflix’s comedy series “The Characters” and “Taskmaster” as well as a Vimeo web series “555,” which features comedian John Early.

Berlant started the set with her acknowledgment of age and her youth; the 30-year-old comedian joked about her youth and connection to the student-filled audience. She said that despite the numbers, she was in fact younger than the college students at her show.

CAB Comedy Director Brett Shaw, who managed the event, said he was a fan of Berlant and John Early and excited about the opportunity for Berlant to put on a show at the UI. (Shaw is a former news reporter at The Daily Iowan.)

“I just like really love seeing the faces of a good show … and making sure everyone has a good time,” he said. It’s just really satisfying … when everything goes smoothly.”

Berlant’s comedy heavily involved audience participation, including her experience with “psychic-ness.” In her psychic bit, she read a list of various things that she asked if the crowd could relate to and prove her psychic abilities.

At one point in the set, she asked if anyone had a mother named Carol. Though no one had a mother named Carol, seven members of the audience had grandmothers with the name. She credited this to her “psychic-ness.”

The show also played on Berlant’s opinions on capitalism. She joked about her hatred for large corporations such as Whole Foods and Sephora, deeming it appropriate to shoplift from such places.

UI student Sarah Haskins, the winner of the fan favorite in Iowa’s last comedy standing, was Berlant’s opener. Haskins’ set talked about her time at the UI and her experience as a woman.

UI freshman and CAB member Lillian Ahlgren acted as Berlant’s personal assistant in preparation for the event. In this role, she was able to meet with Berlant before the show and let her know how the event would work, she said.

Ahlgren also described CAB’s role on campus and what it means to hold events like Sunday’s comedy show.

“CAB is all about providing alcohol-alternative, really inclusive events anyone can come to, so we really love when a bunch of people are here … it provides and alternative so students have some options for the night,” she said.

UI junior Nawfal Kulam, who attended the show, took part in the interactive set.

“I like that she interacted with the crowd a lot,” Kulam said. “She had a good rapport with everyone and talked a lot with people.”

Berlant ended the show with a Q&A with the audience. One individual asked where she had gotten her great confidence, to which Berlant said it was all an act and part of the performance. She joked that in reality, we’re all acting all the time and everyone fakes confidence.

Facebook Comments