Duo brings poetic, comedic chops out
The UC Cougar Den was reverberating with students’ laughter Tuesday evening thanks to the booming voices of two poetic comics … or comedic poets?
Performers Iggy Mwela and Chad Songy, who together make up CoMeTrY — an act that brings a “fusion of comedy and poetry” — were brought to campus by UH’s Council of Ethnic Organizations.
“Gimme uno minuto,” Mwela said, taking in a deep breath as the crowd quietly put down their drinks and slices of pizza. He was preparing to do his first piece of the night, an explosive and deceptive poem about voluptuous curves the listener assumes to be about a woman until Mwela calmly utters the final line, “Damn, I miss playing basketball.”
Mwela, who first got into poetry in college after being forced to attend an open mic because he’d “lost a bet,” has now produced more than 52 poetry shows and could easily be grouped in with the nation’s finest slam poets and performers.
Following Mwela’s piece, former college basketball player Songy walked to the mic and performed a set of traditional stand-up comedy. His humor being mostly observational, Songy managed to segue smoothly between bits about Bluetooth headsets, inconsiderate smokers who toss their cigarettes out the window while driving, and grunting in women’s tennis — all the while keeping the audience in stitches.
“If you’re lazy, clap once,” said Mwela, after joining Songy on stage for a piece on the history and benefits of laziness that utilized a sort of call-and-response between the two performers — a smattering of claps were heard. “Those who didn’t clap are the real lazy ones.”
Other pieces included a spoken word collaboration between Songy and Mwela that focused on connecting the relationship between the inconceivable success of pop-star Michael Jackson and the abuse he suffered from his father, a poignant poem by Mwela about a deaf busboy he befriended while working at a restaurant, and a deconstruction of the communal nature of YouTube and how the need for laughter is something all humans share.
The evening ended on a positive note with “Relay for Life,” a poem by Mwela about struggling against everything to survive.
“There’s no greater gift than life / it’s true / because there’s a million other swimmers / who would love to be you,” Mwela said, the words coming out like verbal fireworks.
UH sophomore Jack Hurd found the event both entertaining and informative.
“I just walked in because I heard there would be free pizza, but after hearing that, I honestly feel like a better person.”
Though a few pieces may have veered into schmaltzy territory at times, Mwela and Songy seemed to sincerely relish bringing laughter and inspiration to people.
For more information on the duo, visit www.cometry.org.