Iowa City comedian shows how to be a dad on the road

Comedian Timmel sits with his newborn son. -- photo courtesy of Nathan Timmel
Comedian Nathan Timmel sitting with his son Truman. — photo courtesy of Nathan Timmel

You’ll seldom meet a parent who has time to raise kids, host a podcast and write a book — all while simultaneously heading out on a comedy tour. Iowa City comedian Nathan Timmel is an exception to that rule.

The comic is a father to two-year old Hillary, and three-month old, Truman. He’s also the author of It’s OK to Talk to to Animals (and Other Letters from Dad), a collection of letters he wrote to his little girl while on the road, missing family meals, milestones and many bedtime stories.

“It’s written like a photo album,” Timmel said. “Instead of looking at pictures and having memories of a certain time in life, she’ll be able to read about this year of her life.”

Like most stand-up professionals, Timmel took his comedy on the road, missing a lot of time after Hillary’s first year. For him, this book is a chance to reveal all the things he wanted to teach and tell her had he been home. “Anything that was on my mind, I’d scribble down for her,” he said.

“My wife saw an article where a parent wrote their child a letter, and liked it,” Timmel added. “She said I should do that, only to a greater degree; instead of one letter, constant letters.”

Nathan Timmel's new book is available from -- Cover photo by Dreamday Photography
Nathan Timmel’s new book is available from — Cover photo by Dreamday Photography

Though Timmel is glad he was able to be home for a few weeks for both his childrens’ births, he admits that not being on the road is a tough dollar sign to ignore.

Regardless of his comedy travels, it’s his endless love for his kids that earned Timmel a “Dad of the Year” award from the Iowa City Mom’s Blog, thanks to a nomination by his wife, Lydia.

“I thought my winning reflected more on my wife’s writing ability than my own daddying skills,” Timmel joked.

Timmel, who has a growing showcase of books and mini-books on Amazon, said he enjoys the writing process, and probably won’t stop with his most recent release. He already sees another book in his future — one probably leaning toward his son, he says.

“Otherwise there’ll be sibling rivalry, her taunting him with ‘Dad loves me best; he didn’t write you a book!’ and so on and so forth,” Timmel said. “Basically, the pressure is on.”

In the meantime, Timmel is still keeping busy with stand-up comedy gigs, planning his annual Comedy for Charity event and co-hosting his podcast, “Idiots on Parade,” with co-host and fellow comedian Jake Vevera.

But his first job is always being a dad.


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“At a certain age she’ll probably look at the letters as embarrassing,” Timmel said about his book. “At another age she might enjoy them (say, if she becomes a mom someday). This was a way for me to remain attached emotionally to my little girl while I was far from home.”

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