Comedian Joe Deuce visits IUS, conjures chuckles in the Commons

The Kentucky native shared his best jokes at IUS in celebration of Homecoming Week


Logan Stephens

“You know you are out of shape when you put on a wrinkled shirt and it looks fine,” Deuce said. “Who needs washboard abs when you have a wrinkle-releasing stomach?”

Logan Stephens, Staff Reporter

No one in the audience was off limits for comedian Joe Deuce, who visited IU Southeast last Wednesday in an event sponsored by the Campus Activities Board. The event was part of IU Southeast’s 2019 Homecoming week. 

Deuce, on his third trip to IU Southeast, is a comedian from Kentucky who has been in the comedy game for eight years. He used that experience to his advantage on Wednesday, forming jokes about the audience on the spot during his show. 

He made a quick introduction before joking about the crowd’s lack of enthusiasm. He said he was happy to be performing for the crowd even if they were not happy to have him. The crowd responded with a chuckle. 

The table to Deuce’s right was his first target as he saw one of the occupants carrying a container of Campbell’s Soup. He asked if she was sick, to which she replied yes. He figured so, and said no one actually enjoys soup unless they are sick. 

Deuce went on to tell jokes about his trip to Africa, leading to an audience member claiming that they had been to the country of Wakanda, a fictional nation based on Marvel’s “Black Panther” movie and comic books. He used this as ammo and quickly transitioned into a joke about how much he loved the movie. 

Near the end of his set, Deuce told one of the most well-received jokes of the show. He joked about being a two-sport collegiate athlete by talking about how good of shape he used to be in. 

“You know you are out of shape when you put on a wrinkled shirt and it looks fine,” Deuce said. “Who needs washboard abs when you have a wrinkle-releasing stomach?” 


Becoming a Comedian 

Deuce said he got his start in comedy on Feb. 7, 2011, a day he calls his “comedy birthday.” He said he had wanted to be a comedian as a kid but did not start until his students pushed him to do so. 

“All my students basically would go to [National Association of Campus Activities] every year and see these comedians,” Deuce said. “My students were like, ‘You are funnier than this guy, why do you not get up there?’”

After his students pushed him, Deuce took part in open mics and realized he was actually making people laugh. He knew he wanted to be a professional comedian. 

“It was pretty automatic that this was what I wanted to do,” Deuce said. “That old feeling I had from when I was a little kid came back, and that is when I knew wanted to do it.” 


Staying Motivated

Though he has won competitions and done numerous shows, Deuce says that he still strives to improve. 

“Anything I do, if it is done well, I still think I could have done a little better,” Deuce said. “That does not mean I am not satisfied or I am not happy with it. It just means that I am just constantly looking at what can be improved.” 

Deuce claims that having that chip on his shoulder helps him stay motivated. 

“A little chip is very motivating,” Deuce said. “It drives a lot of what I do. I think you can see that in my comedy sometimes.” 

“There are jokes where the joke would be fine if it was just this, but then I add a little extra thing and it makes it better than fine. I am always looking for those little moments where I can add something a little extra just to make it more memorable and more enjoyable or just better in general.” 


Connecting With Students 

Working with college students helps Deuce form relationships with them. He claims that it has helped him connect with them through comedy.

“Being around college students, there is a relationship that gets built where I feel like the advantage that I have over other comedians in that I actually know how to talk to college students,” Deuce said. “Whereas a lot of other comedians especially…around my age, they talk down to college students.” 

Deuce thinks constantly being around college students has made it him relatable. 

“I am the fun professor or the person who works in Campus Life who people want to hang out with.” 

The students in the audience seemed to agree as several were quick to sing Deuce’s praise, including David Neville, a senior music composition major. 

“The performance was great,” Neville said. “I have seen him before, but he had fresh takes on all of his jokes because the crowd was different.”

Harlee Dorman, an undecided freshman, also enjoyed the performance. 

“I enjoyed it,” Dorman said. “Everybody could enjoy it. I enjoyed his Starbucks jokes because I work at a Starbucks.” 


Comedic Future 

Deuce mentioned that he is goal-oriented, but he does not necessarily have an end goal in sight. He says that he is comfortable being where he is because of the feeling he gets while on stage. He wants to continue performing as long as his family is taken care of. 

“I want my family to be secure. I want my family to be taken care of,” Deuce said. “I want to be able to have a lot more success and notoriety but I do not know that there is an end goal.” 

“I want to be able to take my daughter to Walmart and not get hassled a bunch of times. I do not want or need to be that big. I am very comfortable being the under-the-radar guy who has a good time and stays focused on my lane and follow that to wherever it takes me.”