Flooded with humor: UI students share comedic personal tales

Floodwater student comedy pre-festival thrilled audiences at the High Ground Cafe


Megan Nagorzanski

Members of Baby Possums perform during the Study Floodies: A Pre-Student showcase at High Ground Cafe on Thursday December 5, 2019.

Samantha Murray, Arts Reporter

As a precursor to the Floodwater Comedy Festival coming to Iowa City this upcoming February, the student showcase comedy show “Study Floodies” gave a performance at the High Ground Cafe, hosted by both Floodwater and Hitchhike Open Mic.

The doors opened to rows of tables filled with people waiting for the show to begin. The lights dimmed and the two spotlights turned on, focusing on the empty mic placed at center stage.

University of Iowa student Paige Stevens was the main organizer for the event.

“The first half is just people I know in the community, students who do comedy and do comedy a lot,” Stevens said, describing how the event was set-up. “And then, after that, it opens up for whoever wants to come up.”

Clara Reynen, the opener and Master of Ceremonies for the night, came up and excitedly began the show.

Reynen’s performance was filled with stories about school and relationships, leaving the audience erupting with laughter from anecdotes describing the type of men she said she was attracted to.

As she finished her performance, she invited another student comic up to the stage, Travis Coltrain, who began his performance with a story about his family.

“When you can drink with your dad, you can emotionally connect with him,” he said as part of his opening bit.

He continued on, introducing the recurring joke of his performance: the idea that Dan Marino of the Miami Dolphins never won the Superbowl.

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“I just like throwing a party and inviting people to it, and I hope that they like laughing when I invite them to said party,” Coltrain said after the show.

Amy Evans, who earlier in the year opened for the professional comedian Jaboukie Young-White, made her way to the stage. Performing in a relaxed and chipper tone, the audience went wild during her set.

Changing the tone a little bit, the improv group Baby Possums came up onto the stage and gave a unique performance, forgoing mics and taking an audience member’s suggestion to start them off. The comedy led the show all the way from the simple suggestion of a scooter to a “horny puppet.”

Griffin Murray, a self-described Hufflepuff, claimed the mic for the next performance. Flipping around his childhood experiences of being bullied, he said that there was nothing he hated more than a lazy insult.

Another change of pace came with musical comic Annie Livingston, who played a song on her ukulele about her dead fish, Trevor, to the tune of Feliz Navidad. As she played, she invited the audience to sing the chorus with her.

“Trevor is dead. Trevor is dead. Trevor is dead. Rest in pieces if you know what I mean,” eventually rang out throughout the cafe.

Closing out the night was Brett Shaw, who managed to balance making fun of himself and others within the same sentence. He even managed to make fun of both sides of the long held rivalry between many STEM and humanities majors with his story of his visit to the doctor.

By the end of the first half, the audience largely filled with students had received a badly needed break and laugh during the trying times of the last few weeks of the semester.

“That was really good,” said UI freshman Ashley Lie-Atjam. “I didn’t expect it to be that good with normal college students. I felt like I didn’t stop laughing.”