Jaboukie Young-White: ‘What happens in the cornfield, stays in the cornfield.’

Known for his work in stand-up and television writing, Jaboukie Young-White provides a humorous performance for the University of Iowa community.

Sarah Stortz, Arts Reporter

Donning a t-shirt stating “What happens in the cornfield, stays in the cornfield,” along with a graphic of Iowa, Jaboukie Young-White gave the most appropriate impression for his Iowa City fans as he walked on stage.

The comedian performed a standup routine inside the Hawkeye Room on Sept. 28 in a sold-out event hosted by the Campus Activities Board.

Brett Shaw, the comedy director for CAB, said he first discovered Young-White on Twitter, where he was drawn by his tongue-in-cheek tweets. Shaw said he noticed a lot of his friends following him on Twitter, and he knew Young-White would appeal to the university community.

The comedy committee tried booking him in the spring, but found his schedule was too booked. After they tried again in early August, they managed to find an open date and successfully booked him.

Sabrinna Hegelheimer, one of the members of the comedy committee, praised his distinct style of comedy.

“His comedy is more subtle, which I really enjoy,” she said. “It also helps that he is so young. I can relate to him more than the comedians that are a little bit older.”

Young-White brought a strong delivery to his audience last Saturday, almost feeling like a buddy cracking jokes during a study sessions. With his approachable, yet charismatic personality, Young-White made sure to interact with a few audience members.

During one of his stories, Young-White shared a tale detailing his instances of cheating in high school. He pointed to a young woman in the audience, asking what her major is.

After she responds with environmental engineering, he retorts with “OK, she said I’m getting a job after graduation.”

The ultimate highlight of his stand-up was when he began utilizing the small television screens in the background, acting as if he was presenting a PowerPoint to the crowd. He made several ludicrous claims during his presentation, such as stating Beyonce invented feminism or listing which bug species are gay, perfectly parodying a modern classroom.

Young-White additionally poked fun at his race and sexual orientation, sharing his accounts of growing up in a Jamaican household and living in the city as a gay man.

As a norm for many stand-up comedians, Young-White notably reused many of his jokes that he performed in The Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon. However, he still makes his material sound fresh and riveting.

Shaw commended him for using his role as a comedian to bring attention to social issues.

“He takes such an interesting and nuanced approach to topical issues,” Shaw said. “He brings this young voice to comedy, which I really enjoy. Political comedy can be very hard but he does it in a really interesting and funny way.”

With the event taking place during the beginning of midterm season, Young-White acted as a temporary stress reliever. Shelley Hartman, the advisor for CAB, said comedy events provide a lot for students rather than simply making them laugh.

“Comedy shows provide our students a great way to release stress, expand their thinking, and connect with other students on campus,” Hartman wrote in an email to The Daily Iowan. “A lot of times, we have students from Iowa open for these bigger shows which provides them with a great experience and allows our community to be involved with an artistic process.”

Young-White’s Twitter account currently has over 200,000 followers. With all of his accomplishments, Young-White’s star status can only grow brighter.