Mount Carmel native Scott Siepker is taking his “Iowa Nice” brand of humor to ESPN with twice-weekly features on college football.
Mount Carmel native Scott Siepker is taking his “Iowa Nice” brand of humor to ESPN with twice-weekly features on college football.
Friday, October 5, 2012

Mount Carmel native and Carroll High School alum Scott Siepker this week reached a deal with ESPN for the airing of regular college football commentaries featuring his trademark dry, often geographic-based humor of the sort that vaulted him into national prominence earlier this year with “Iowa Nice,” a laugh-out-loud, creative defense of the Hawkeye State.

Here’s Siepker’s ESPN take on the Miami-Notre Dame game Saturday: “The only way I’d go to this game is in a DeLorean.” The two teams competed in some iconic match-ups in the 1980s, when John DeLorean’s gull-wing-doored car fascinated the nation if but for moments.

Siepker is the on-screen personality for Iowa Filmmakers, a trio of talent operating on a shoestring budget but possessing a king’s ransom of creativity, which earned an Official Honoree designation at the 16th annual Webby Awards in the Viral category for “Iowa Nice.”

In an interview this morning, Siepker said Iowa Filmmakers would shoot two, 2-minute videos each week for ESPN U, one picking college football games, the other recapping contests from the previous week. The videos will be broadcast on ESPN U’s College Football Daily, which airs from noon to 3 p.m. CST. He expects his spots to air about 12:45 p.m. and 1:45 p.m. on Friday (for previews) and Wednesday (for reviews).

Siepker, an adjunct acting professor at Drake University in Des Moines, said the Iowa Filmmakers team will use its tested approach for content and humor.

“They’ve pretty much given us free rein,” Siepker said.

Each week, Iowa Filmmakers, which will shoot the video at a Des Moines home, plan to incorporate references to Iowa State, Iowa and Nebraska. But they’ll include major college games across the nation as well.

“I’m going to try and hit every single region,” Siepker said.

While the initial deal is with ESPN U for college football, Siepker says success could lead to exposure on the flagship ESPN, and possibly with other sports.

“As I write the scripts I have in mind trying to spread this farther,” Siepker said.

Iowa Filmmakers now has videos out puffing for Iowa State University and University of Iowa and riffing on opponents — “Hawkeye Nice” and “Cylcone Nice.”

Siepker’s “Iowa Nice” short film — produced on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day this year in response to stereotyping of Iowa by the media — has well over 1 million views.

The 2-minute video seeks to debunk certain coastal narratives about Iowa being a cultural monolith of prejudiced reactionaries. Siepker, 29, and “Iowa Nice” director, his longtime theatrical collaborator, Paul D. Benedict, have seen their work go viral with features on CNN International, MSNBC and BBC World News.

MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow last winter termed “Iowa Nice” “the single-most-entertaining ad to come out of Iowa this political season.”

The Atlantic Monthly, Huffington Post, Omaha World-Herald and other media published stories on “Iowa Nice.”

In the video, Siepker, pictured near the state Capitol and in farm settings, defends agriculture and champions the state’s history of tolerance — the legalization of gay marriage and opportunities for women as attorneys, for example. It also spotlights the science involved in modern farming.

The video went live at about 10:30 p.m. Jan. 1 and earned instant street credibility online.

“By the next day I was getting recognized in the mall,” Siepker said.

Siepker said this morning that another “Iowa Nice” video is scheduled for release on Tuesday, this one dealing with the furor over the retention of Iowa Supreme Court justices in the wake of the decision legalizing gay marriage.

Siepker, a member of the Carroll High School Class of 2001, is a son of Mount Carmel residents Terry “Zip” Siepker, a 28-year veteran of Pella Corp., and Janie Siepker, an American Home Shield employee.