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Comedian Nathan Timmel returns to Penguins, where he once told jokes and met his future wife

NATHAN TIMMEL

Comedian Nathan Timmel of North Liberty is returning to Penguins in Cedar Rapids for shows Friday (12/21) and Saturday (12/22).
NATHAN TIMMEL Comedian Nathan Timmel of North Liberty is returning to Penguins in Cedar Rapids for shows Friday (12/21) and Saturday (12/22).

Nathan Timmel loves comedy enough that he became a comedian. However, the humorist never thought he would find love at a comedy club.

But that’s just what happened when the Milwaukee native performed a dozen years ago at Penguins in Cedar Rapids. Timmel’s humor impressed a young University of Iowa alum, who was taken with the University of Wisconsin graduate’s material.

“My future wife hit me up on a social media platform that was known as MySpace,” Timmel said. “She wrote that she related to me. We spoke on the phone, went on some dates. We really hit it off and got married. She’s a Hawkeye and I’m a Badger, but somehow we make it work.”

Timmel and his wife Lydia, who live in North Liberty with their two young children, ages 4 and 2, are content residing in the area, as opposed to Los Angeles, which Timmel used to call home.

“I love living here so I don’t have to pay through the nose for everything like you do in Los Angeles,” he said. “I hate to say it, but the coasts only care about the coasts. If you’re a comic, you take a hit living in Iowa. You’re not going to be discovered in Iowa if you’re an entertainer.”

What about Ashton Kutcher?

“Name somebody before Ashton Kutcher or after him that became a star in Hollywood after being discovered in Iowa,” Timmel said. “He is the anomaly. But I’m fine with where we live. There are advantages. Iowa is a great place to raise our children.”

It’s also a short commute for Timmel when he returns to Penguins Comedy Club on Friday (12/21) and Saturday (12/22).

“It beats what I usually have to do, which is fly everywhere.”

Expect Timmel, 49, to wax about his family when he takes the stage in Cedar Rapids.

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“My show is basically my life and my thoughts,” he said. “So my family is part of what I talk about. It’s a unique show, since it’s all about me and my world. I can’t imagine doing anything but comedy.”

Timmel turned to comedy after graduating from the University of Wisconsin with an English degree.

“It wasn’t the brightest move, majoring in English,” he said. “That’s so, if you’re not planning to teach. I just majored in something that I was interested in, like a lot of people. I enjoy writing. I love to read. It dawned on me when I graduated that my degree has few real-world applications.”

However, Timmel quickly discovered he could use his verbal skills as a comic.

“I always liked comedy,” he said. “I grew up listening to Richard Pryor, George Carlin and Robin Williams. Those were the big three comics for me. They had such an impact on me. They inspired me. I took a chance onstage — I gave it a shot and got lucky.”

It wasn’t the only time Timmel got lucky onstage.

“It’s an unusual story,” he said. “If I had a regular job, I never would have met my wife or moved to Iowa if it weren’t for comedy.”

Whenever he performs at Penguins, his mind races back to that life-changing gig. However, his better half isn’t so sentimental.

“She doesn’t say much about anything when I perform at Penguins,” Timmel said. “About the only time she ever talked to me about Penguins or the set I was going to do, was when her grandparents came out to see me. She begged me not to do a bit about (us), which is about something a married couple might do. I had no problem with that. I have plenty of material.”

Get Out!

WHAT: Nathan Timmel

WHERE: Penguins Comedy Club, 208 Second Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids

WHEN: 8 p.m. Friday (12/21) and Saturday (12/22)

TICKETS: $15 advance, $17 show day, (319) 362-8133 or Penguinscomedyclub.com

ARTIST’S WEBSITE: Nathantimmel.com

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