Five great comedy venues you might not be aware of

Categories: Comedy
There are many places in the Twin Cities to see comedy, such as Acme Comedy Co., Rick Bronson's House of Comedy, the Brave New Workshop, HUGE Theater, and ComedySportz to name a few. These venues are obvious, and all over the radar. However, there are a few places in town that are unexpected, but with a high level of hilarity.

Here are five of them.
Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater
(810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis; 612-825-3737;

The Bryant-Lake Bowl has earned its reputation as a hipster theater and music mini-Mecca. Its productions can be described as "unexpected," a word that is sometimes code for pretentious. Not here. Think unexpectedly hilarious. Just this month alone, the BLB will host productions by Joseph Scrimshaw, Two Chairs Telling (a spoken-word storytelling event), Big Fun Radio Funtime, In Defense of Sports, M4W Improv, and My Nose Bleeds Once a Month. With this loaded schedule, they should re-brand themselves as the Bryant-Laugh Bowl. (Wait. No, they shouldn't.)

Grumpy's Downtown
(1111 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612-340-9738;

Grumpy's Downtown is a bar with good food and beer. It also hosts a few comedy shows that you can participate in. If the possibility of inconsistent humor is not a deal breaker, then Death Comedy Jam, Grumpy's very own comedy open mic, is highly recommended. Bring your jokes, or don't. Either way, it's gonna get funny (both funny ha-ha and not).  

Club Underground
(355 NE Monroe St., Minneapolis; 612-627-9123;

Here's a scenario: It's Monday night, and you're at home feeling morose. You want to laugh, but you have no idea where to go. Every comedy club and improv theater in town just seems too obvious. Then you may want to check out Club Underground. The indie music basement venue in northeast Minneapolis hosts The Monday Night Comedy Show weekly, which showcases local comedians doing sets of polished material. You can also catch the Dirty Curls and their naughty brand of bluegrass there from time to time, as well as the occasional bonus standup show. It also hosts Pundamonium, a slam-style pun contest (full disclosure: I produce the Pundamonium.)

New Hope Cinema Grill
(2749 Winnetka Ave. N., Golden Valley; 763-417-0017;

New Hope Cinema Grill is a second-run movie theater that serves burgers and beer during screenings. The venue is also quietly making a play for standup-comedy supremacy in the Twin Cities. The theater has hosted many national touring comics. And these standups aren't small time, either: Gilbert Gottfried, Bobby Slayton, Josh Blue, and others have taken the Golden Valley stage. Just look at the schedule online. The comedy never ends.

Amsterdam Bar and Hall
(6 W. Sixth St., St. Paul; 612-285-3112;

The Amsterdam is a newish venue in downtown St. Paul. The space regularly hosts evenings with Le Cirque Rouge, a venerable cabaret theater company which celebrated its 10th anniversary last weekend. Cabaret is not just full-boob-no-nipple fun though. It's also heavily dosed with vaudevillian comedy. We're talking about the fast talking, hockey pun-making humor that you can only find in a burlesque show.

Amsterdam is also adding more standup comedy to its calendar, starting with Timmy Williams from the Whitest Kids U Know later this month. Order up a few of the bar's tiny sandwiches, and you'll feel like even the food is hilarious/delicious.

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