Comedian Muffy creates educational videos for the incarcerated
New Jersey comedian brings act to Iowa prison
DECEMBER 27, 2018 BY PAT CURTIS
Comedian Muffy (aka Laura J. Steele)
A prison is not a typical tour stop for a comedian, but Laura J. Steele – known by her stage name “Muffy” – is hoping to induce a few laughs today from the roughly 600 inmates at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville.
Steele says she’s bringing more than jokes to the facility located 25 miles east of Des Moines. “And that is hope,” Steele said. “You know, people care about them on the outside and they have hope they can change their lives – anyone can change their lives. I am absolutely coming with a purpose.”
The 48-year-old Steele now lives in New Jersey but grew up in Colorado and Minnesota where both of her parents worked in prisons as psychologists. “I grew up in corrections, as a child, so I’m very comfortable in that environment. I think that’s unique for a comedian,” Steele said. As an infant, Steele was given the nickname “Muffy” by her mother.
The comedian Muffy has performed in some of the industry’s premiere venues – including Dangerfield’s Comedy Club, the Broadway Comedy Club, and Comic Strip Live – all in New York. But Steele is “proudest” of landing this gig at a prison in Iowa. “I really believe in giving back and serving others,” Steele said. “I really am most excited and proud of being able to perform in the women’s prison.”
Muffy will deliver three one-hour performances today at 1:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. She is not being paid. Steele said this will be the first time she’s performed inside a prison, but hopes it won’t be the last.
Steele contacted Cheryl Dahm, the warden of the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women, after hearing about the Mitchellville facility in a National Public Radio broadcast. Dahm agreed to book Muffy’s “clean comedy” act. Steele said the performance she’s planned is based on her book, “26 Life Lessons: Advice For Today’s Youth and Adults.” Steele said she’ll be giving each incarcerated person a copy of her book following her performances.
Muffy talks about one of her favorite comedians – the late Richard Pryor
Watchung comedian performs free show for inmates
Alexander Lewis, Bridgewater Courier NewsPublished 8:00 a.m. ET Dec. 25, 2018
WATCHUNG - Borough resident Laura Steele, aka Comedian Muffy, wants people to remember those often forgotten about, even during the holidays — the incarcerated.
"I think it is a time to give back and also a time to not forget about people that are incarcerated," Steele said.
To raise awareness, Steele will perform at The Iowa Correctional Institution for Women, a medium/minimum security prison in Mitchellville, Iowa, for 600 inmates and staff on Dec. 27. She'll do three one-hour performances that aren't open to the public.
Steele's performance is based on her second book, "26 Life Lessons: Advice For Today’s Youth and Adults."
"It's a book I wrote for my son about the 26 life lessons that I've learned throughout my life that I wanted to give to him and to the world," Steele explained.
Her first was a children's book, “Mommy, Do Dinosaurs Have Belly Buttons?"
Comedian Muffy (Laura J. Steele) will also be giving each inmate a copy of her book, "26 Life Lessons: Advice For Today’s Youth and Adults," at no cost.
Steele will sign copies of her book for inmates following her performances, and while its a large expense, she says it is more than worth it.
"My ultimate goal is to lead them and give them hope," she said. "It is my mission as a comedian to help people with their rehabilitation after incarceration."
Steele has been working with prisons across the country to schedule additional performances; she will perform clean comedy in any U.S. women’s or men’s prison.
Her typical comedic style, which she has utilized in Manhattan comedy clubs since 2016, is blue comedy, also known as ribaldry, which pokes fun at the weaknesses in human sexuality.
Steele is a University of Minnesota graduate, with a bachelor's in psychology and communications, and has a masters degree in health education from New York University. She works for the City of New York in public health and finance.
"I've always wanted to be a comedian and I was inspired to pursue my passion by comedian Richard Pryor," she explained.
For those interested in learning more about Comedian Muffy, helping her mission, or telling her about those close to you who are currently incarcerated, email her at email@example.com or reach out to her on social media by visiting www.comedianmuffy.com.
By SCENE Magazine -December 13, 2018
Comedian Muffy will be performing on Thursday, December 27th, 2018 at The Iowa Correctional Institution for Women a medium/minimum security prison located 25 miles east of Des Moines, IA in Mitchellville, IA for 600 inmates and staff. There will be three one hour performances at 1:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 6:00 p.m.
Comedian Muffy’s (aka Laura J. Steele), performance is based on her book, 26 Life Lessons: Advise For Today’s Youth and Adults. She will be giving each inmate a copy of her book after her performances. Comedian Muffy lives in New Jersey but she is originally from Minnesota. She has been working with prisons across the United States to schedule performances, she will perform clean comedy in any U.S. women’s or men’s prison.
The Warden of The Iowa Correctional Institution for Women is Ms. Cheryl Dahm. Muffy reached out to her this October following a National Public Radio broadcast on “gender-responsive corrections” on October 17, 2018. Muffy has been working with Activities Specialists Amber Patterson and Darcia Stepanek.
For entrance into the prison on December 27, 2018 please contact Cord Overton, Communications Director, Iowa Department of Corrections, telephone number 515-725-5707email address: firstname.lastname@example.org or website https://doc.iowa.gov.
Borough resident Laura Steele, aka Comedian Muffy, inspired many inmates with her free comedy show. Steele wants people to remember those who are often forgotten - the incarcerated. Bridgewater Courier News
Muffy Does Mitchellville
She has been on stage in some of the industry’s premier venues – including Dangerfield’s Comedy Club, the Broadway Comedy Club, and Comic Strip Live – all in New York. Laura J. Stelle, aka Muffy, is “proudest” of landing her gig for today; three shows at the Iowa Correctional Institution for Women in Mitchellville.
Muffy will deliver three one-hour performances today and is NOT being paid. Steele said this will be the first time she’s performed inside a prison, but hopes it won’t be the last. Steele said the performance she’s planned is based on her book, “26 Life Lessons: Advice For Today’s Youth and Adults.” Steele said she’ll be giving each incarcerated person a copy of her book following her performances.