Comedy, poetry collide on Underground stage

Co-founder+of+Cometry%2C+Iggy+Mwela%2C+is+performing+spoken+word.

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Co-founder of Cometry, Iggy Mwela, is performing spoken word.

Kalyn Hayslett, Verge Editor

Given the ultimatum of either paying $100 or going to a poetry slam co-founder Ignatius “Iggy” Mwela made the career changing choice of attending the slam, in turn inspiring him to create the Cometry company.

Attending spoken word and performing for the first time, Mwela pursued his own career in poetry and learned as much as he could to better his craft.

“It was engaging, entertaining and completely what I wasn’t expecting,” Mwela said. “I fell in love when I saw it.”

Focusing his poetry on personal stories, Mwela’s uses his performance to reflect on his toughest past experiences with the hope to encourage, teach and inspire others.

“My ultimate goal is to give them hope,” Mwela said. “Life has its ups and downs but its all about what you do with it.”

Cometry is the combination of goofy improvisation, observational stand-up comedy and thought provoking poetry.

Mwela and Chad Songy created Cometry, but wanted to expand their performance by adding more members to the team: Andy Karol and Esteban Gast.

The members are a mix of poets and comedians that are put in pairs to complement one another.

When looking for more members, Mwela was concerned with more than just their stage presence and performance.

“The character of a person means a lot to me,” Mwela said. “I see their material and then spend a week getting to know them.”

The heartbeat of the company is to teach, inspire, give back and make others feel better so it is important that the new members share this same passion.

“People tell us we have this contagious enthusiasm,” Mwela said.

All of the performers formed this family bond that is evident on stage through vibe checks and providing confidence boost Mwela said.

“We figure each other out emotionally, we nourish each other’s thoughts, aspirations and take a lot time supporting each other,” he said.

The main goals of each performance is educating and entertaining the audience.

The company’s pattern is starting off with a comedy act, then a spoken word following with cometry, which is a mix of both.

“It’s a rollercoaster of emotions,” Mwela said. “Laugh, cry and learn something new.”

The material ranges from really silly, relatable topics to serious and uncomfortable situations.

During Friday’s performance, students can expect a comedy interpretation of current rap songs such as Drake and Silento through non-rapper’s perspectives.

Other commentaries include the infamous photo day everyone goes through in elementary, middle, high school, with having to sit in awkward positions.

Mwela will also open up about a depressing time in his life and the pains of having an alcoholic father, as part of his performance.

“Hope it can spark some thought in you,” Mwela said. “A lot of my teaching is through humor because comedy does a good job of stripping down barriers.”

The passion to cause the audience to think, reflect and respond keeps the company going despite the uncertainties of the business.

“Always an insecure feeling, knowing that you have to keep grinding to keep it going it makes me nervous, but I enjoy it because it keeps me on my toes,” Mwela said.

Students can attend the performance for free at 7 p.m. Friday in the 7th Street Underground.

Kalyn Hayslett can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected]