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Comedy showcase benefits veterans

Event at The Mill in Iowa City takes place Sunday

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Kelli Sutterman / Admin  ::   UPDATED: 21 January 2014 | 3:42 pm   ::  

For a cheap laugh Sunday head to The Mill in Iowa City.

But, don’t judge the quality of the comedy by the $5 admission price tag.

So says Comedy for Charity organizer and Iowa City-based comedian Nathan Timmel.

“People will be surprised by the pool of talent found right here in the Corridor,” Timmel says.

Six local comedians will take the stage and present “a tight set of their best material” to benefit area veterans, he says.

The details


  • Comedy for Charity featuring six area comedians

  • 6 p.m. Sunday

  • The Mill, 120 E. Burlington St., Iowa City.

  • Cost: $5 at the door. Proceeds go to English River Outfitters, a non-profit organization that works with Iowa veterans.

  • More information: Bit.ly/comedyforcharity


This is the fourth Comedy for Charity event and Timmel has never had trouble recruiting talent.

“All I have to do is ask. It’s rare you’re going to hear, ‘Nah, I’m not interested in telling my jokes for free.’ Comedians love audiences, and if they get the bonus focus of getting to do something good with their craft, they’re going to jump at the opportunity,” he says.

Proceeds from the event have gone to a different cause each year.

“We’ve given to the fight against pediatric cancer, a family in medical need, and then, of course, this year, America’s veterans,” Timmel says.

Proceeds will go to English River Outfitters, a non-profit organization that works with Iowa Veterans, giving them a safe environment to transition from deployment back into civilian life. The organization believes positive outdoor experiences allow nature to help in the healing process of veterans.

“We’ve all heard of the stress involved when leaving behind a combat zone, so it’s just fantastic that Iowa veterans have a place where they can — to put it in very casual terms — just get away and be with other people who have all had similar life experiences,” says Timmel, who performed for troops stationed oversees in Iraq, Afghanistan, Kuwait and Kyrgyzstan.

“Performing for troops on active duty has been the high point of my career. I’m not sure why it has taken me four years to make members of the American Military the beneficiary of Comedy for Charity, but I’m glad we’re finally doing it.”

Chuck Geertz, president and founder of English River Outfitters, says the proceeds will be used to support the leadership and life skills programs, such as hunting, fishing and job training.

“The support that is offered through other groups like Nathan’s Comedy for Charity show is really awesome,” Geertz says. “Words really cannot express how it makes me feel.”

Comedy for Charity came about on accident, Timmel says.

“Four years ago, a friend of mine said he wanted to take me out to lunch, because he had a question to ask me. That question was: ‘What would you charge to perform at a fundraiser to fight cancer?’ I responded that as he was buying lunch, that could be considered my ‘fee.’ And just like that, the first ‘Comedy for Charity’ was born.”

While Timmel’s friend — area photographer Greg Frieden — put together the first show, Timmel has spearheaded the effort each year since.

“It feels really nice being able to use my meager skills as a mouth clown to do a little good in the world, and after that first night, I wanted to have that feeling again and again,” he says.

The event is a success, in part, thanks to The Mill donating its space, Timmel says.

“This isn’t a charity event where part of the ticket price goes to cover costs,” he says. “I keep the price low because I’d rather have 100 people turn out and create a great audience, than charge $20 a ticket and have 50 people decide they can afford to come. Also, at $5, you have enough left in your pocket to buy a drink or two, which helps support The Mill.”

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