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Last Comic Standing contestant to visit UI

BY EVAN CLARK | FEBRUARY 24, 2011 7:20 AM

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Erin Jackson has been professionally providing laughter to audiences since her standup début seven years ago. But it took one humbling experience three years ago in her hometown of Washington, D.C., to understand the true meaning of humility.

“I was on stage for about 30 seconds, and everyone started booing me,” she said.

Jackson was performing at a music festival in front of the Washington Monument, and she felt the crowd turning on her because they were expecting a band and not a comedian.

“It was pretty embarrassing,” she said.

In 2008, she put the past behind her and reached the semifinals of “Last Comic Standing.” That year, she also opened for legendary comic Bill Maher and taped her first standup special for Comedy Central.

Her humor will be on display at 10 p.m. today at Public Space One, 129 E. Washington St. Admission is free. Campus Activities Board is sponsoring the event.

Jackson began performing standup seven years ago in Washington after building up the courage to perform at a few open mikes in the area. She notes that while performing standup had always been a goal for her, the decision to pursue a career in comedy came out of nowhere.

“I’m not funny like a silly kind of funny, but I’m always very sarcastic and like being conversational with my comedy,” she said.

She has spent the majority of her career balancing tour schedules with an online advertising job she worked to support herself. In 2008, she had a breakout year, and she quit her job to focus on comedy full-time.

She credits Bill Cosby as her main inspiration in comedy, and she incorporates everyday life experiences with her friends and family as the backbone for her material.

University of Iowa junior Tom Donda, who first caught Jackson’s act on “Last Comic Standing,” enjoys her smooth ability to deliver punch line after punch line.

“She doesn’t need to run or jump around on stage to get your attention,” he said. “She’s very calm and collected and makes fun of things that everyone can relate to. That she’s just keeping it real on stage is what I like about her the most.”

Jackson believes that honesty and simplicity is the best source for coming up with new jokes. What may be forgetable, everyday moments to some individuals is potential comedic gold for Jackson — and she doesn’t plan on running out of material anytime soon.

“My act is all the things that anyone would talk about,” Jackson said. “Relationships, breakups, how my Mom hates my job — it’s just all about the encounters that I have with people every day. I think if you do that, then your act is different from other people, because it’s your unique experiences. My material comes from inside me, not from the outside, and I’ll still be doing this style 10 years from now.”


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