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Five questions with: Carmen Lynch

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Floodwater Comedy Festival Presents: Carmen Lynch

The Mill — Thursday, March 1 at 8 p.m.

Comedian Carmen Lynch kicks of Floodwater with a set at The Mill on March 1. — photo courtesy of Floodwater Comedy Festival

The Floodwater Comedy Festival kicks off tonight in downtown Iowa City. After a year hiatus, it’s back in full force, with a stellar lineup of local, regional and national comedy acts, recently expanded to include Helltrap Nightmare (who wowed the city last year when they came for Green Gravel Comedy Festival) Sam Tallent. Festival passes are $55.

First out of the gate is comedian Carmen Lynch, performing on Thursday, March 1 at the Mill at 8 p.m. Individual tickets to her show are $12 in advance, $15 at the door. Little Village recently caught up with Lynch via email.

The New York-based Lynch released her debut album of stand-up material, Dance Like You Don’t Need the Money, last year — a new experience for her.

“There always seemed to be someone in the audience who did something that bugged me (make out in the front row, or have a weird laugh),” she wrote. “But that’s the beauty of live shows.”

Lynch, who is bilingual, takes the Spanish-language version of her stand-up show with her whenever she visits family in Spain, where she said she mines new material from her nieces.

What do you think of comedy as a way to cross boundaries between cultures? Is there a common humanity to be found?

There are definitely topics that are universal — which we can all relate to: dating, family, etc. I was just in Pakistan and then flew to Omaha. It’s a nice range geographically and cool to see what works in both and what doesn’t. But I like to think that funny is funny and that it can work anywhere.

Where do you fall on the making-yourself-laugh continuum? Do you play to the crowd or do you consider yourself your first, best arbiter?

I try to shoot for what’s funny to me; if not, then I probably wouldn’t still be doing this. I try to keep myself entertained as well. Sometimes my favorite jokes don’t work immediately, but that’s the fun challenge of figuring out how to make them work.

Your Facebook page is carmencomedian — are you totally over the “Karma Chameleon” jokes yet? That seems like a “good idea at the time”-type situation.

Haha. Of course not. Please keep them coming.

I read that you attended the College of William and Mary — so did I (Go Tribe!). Were you engaged at all with comedy there? As I recall, there were strong improv and sketch scenes when I was there (long before you, ha!) but not much stand up.

Woohoooo!

I wish I’d done some comedy in W&M, but I didn’t discover my appreciation for it until after college. But I’ve done standup there since, and it seems like they have a lot of options now. Maybe they’ll take me back.

As an actor who switched to comedy, do you have plans for a focused return to acting? What itch do you scratch with acting that isn’t available to you through comedy, and vice versa?

I still act, just not as often since I have to perform with other people and standup is something I can do on my own. I’m always looking to act more and [that] is mostly why I have a very silly YouTube channel. But working with others, and working on someone else’s script, is also cool. And it works a different muscle.


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