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Local comedians compete to perform with Johannsen

It’s been said that laughter is the best medicine. If that is really the case, the Court Center Comedy Competition (C4) may just be Iowa’s newest flu shot for people who are bored and looking for some entertainment.

One of the many features of the second annual Iowa Comedy Festival, presented by Terrible’s Casino, C4 serves as a tournament of sorts for aspiring comedians from across the nation. The event is the largest stand-up comedy competition in Iowa. Over the past month, the list of comedic hopefuls has been narrowed from a whopping 45 down to the final 10, who will perform tonight. The finalists were selected by both the audience and a panel of judges who voted on the contestants’ overall funny-factor during a five-minute individual routine.

The first-place winner will take home a $1,000 grand prize, provided this year by Court Avenue Restaurant and Brewing Company. The top three finishers in the finals will have the opportunity to open for the Iowa Comedy Festival’s special guest, comedian Jake Johannsen, at the grand finale showcase on Oct. 16. A national-headliner and Iowa City native, Johannsen attended Iowa State University during the early 1980s, leaving after three years to pursue a career in comedy. In 1994, he was nominated as “Best Male Stand-Up Comedian” for the American Comedy Awards. Johannsen also boasts a record 36 appearances on “The Late Show with David Letterman.”

Those in charge of the event are excited about the tournament’s success so far.

“It’s obviously a fun experience for anyone involved,” said Joel Fry, a local comedian and the host of C4. “The audience gets a night of laughs and the contestants, win or lose, get some sweet stage experience. The entire Iowa Comedy Festival is an awesome and unique event that should prove to the world that Iowa is about more than just corn.”

The final round of performances and voting for the final three competitors for C4 will be held tonight at 8 p.m. at the People’s Court club. Tickets will be $10, a low price to pay for a night of laughter where the audience gets to voice its opinion on who’s bringing down the house and which comedians shouldn’t quit their day jobs.

Drake junior psychology major EJ Walter has always fancied himself a comedy buff, and plans to attend the final round of the competition.

“I’m really looking forward to going,” he said. “Ten bucks is pretty cheap for live comedy. I’m glad that Des Moines has awesome stuff like this available. And maybe next year I’ll have the confidence to enter the competition myself.”


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