Gabe's to host first Laughapalooza


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One thing people can be sure to find when looking for entertainment in Iowa City is local talent.

While musicians, writers, and artists abound, some up-and-coming comedy stars have roots in Iowa City as well.

At 7 p.m. on Friday, Gabe's, 330 E. Washington St., will host Iowa City's first Laughapalooza Comedy Show. The event will include comedians HD Reeves of MTV's "Wild 'N' Out" and Fox's "One Mike Stand" and YouTube sensation Darius Bowie of NBC's "Comedy Playground." Bowie has opened for MGK, Future, Kid Ink, and other big-name artists.

Tom Garland, whom organizers had planned to host the event, will not make an appearance because of a commitment to another show, in Minnesota. DJ "ONEWAY" Dorrington, a local DJ, comedian, and bartender who is also the DJ for the event, will fill in.

Some of the comedians who will perform — or had been scheduled to perform — at Laughapalooza started their careers in Iowa City. Garland and Bowie attended the University of Iowa, and Garland worked for Daily Iowan TV.

"I was hired on my first day of freshman year, and three years later I only stopped working there because an internship with KCRG-TV9 Sports," Garland said. "It's really made a huge impact on my career. It helped me hone my skills as a writer, in show production and in marketing. I enjoy the business side of comedy just as much as I do the performance, which has helped me propel my career at a faster rate than most."

Bowie said he gets inspiration from Kevin Hart and such TV shows as "Martin" and "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air." He has come a long way since being a UI student with a double major in journalism and sport studies.

"I did my first standup set at open-mike night at the Yacht Club," Bowie said. "My experience at Iowa was amazing. My teachers in the J School and in the sport-studies program allowed me to express my comedic ability in my writing and my stories. My teacher Angie Looney showed me how to use a camera for the first time. I hope I get really big so I can donate money back to the school. For what the university has done for me and my dreams, it deserves it."

Garland now works as a full-time professional comedian based in Cedar Rapids, and outlets for his work include TV, radio, live albums, and live performances.

"Most recently, I worked my first show headlining in Las Vegas off-strip at the Ainsworth Lounge at the Hard Rock Casino," he said. "My first break came in 2013, when I was hired as the sole opening act for Steve-O and Tom Green's 'Icons of Comedy: Original Pranksters Tour' at the legendary Starlite Theater at the Riviera Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip."

Bowie, who now has more than 2,000 followers on Twitter, said he is excited about people hearing his new material during the show.

"For those who have never seen me live, they only have my two videos to go on YouTube. Both videos are 2 years old," he said. "My style, delivery, and topics onstage have all evolved dramatically since then. Most of my set now is about relationships at this point. Being 23 years old, I've realized a lot of people my age relate to and laugh at these stories about my dating past because they have been through similar experiences."

Garland teamed up with Brandon Miller — local promoter, event coordinator, and a friend of Bowie — for Laughapalooza. After agreeing on a name, the two secured a performance date with Gabe's. The event has sold more tickets than any previous comedy event at the venue.

"I have nothing but respect for the way [Miller] hustles. Every time he rings me for a show, I know it's going to be big," Garland said. "I used to bring a lot more comedy shows into Gabe's, and it kind of died off. So when he brought up the idea I was like, 'Cool, let's do it. Let's bring this back, and do it big.' We found a headliner and tagged on some other great acts. It's going to be one hell of a show."
Miller said he hopes this first Laughapalooza will be one of many in the future.

"I am personally excited for watching Laughapalooza grow to where we can make it a monthly or bimonthly event, giving local comedians an opportunity to headline their own events," he said. "… If you like to laugh, you should come check this comedy show out. We're nicknaming it the night of 100 laughs — if you come, you will see why."

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