Year in Review 2013: Comedy

Categories: Comedy
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Any Twin Cities comedian or comedy fan can tell you how awesome our scene is. We've known it for years, and wear it like a badge of honor. The thing that makes our scene so great is the amount of variety the Twin Cities has to offer, with huge names coming to town to play theaters seemingly every week, a great open-mic scene giving up-and-comers the chance to hone their skills, and some of the most well-known and respected clubs in the country within just a few minutes of each other.

That became more obvious than ever this past year, with the rest of the country taking notice of just how good the level of talent is in our 'hood.

While there were tons of incredible performances and groundbreaking comedy performed all across Minnesota in 2013, these are the five moments that stood out to us as the best of the best (in no particular order, because we're Minnesota Nice and don't play favorites).

See also:
Year in Review 2013: Literature
Year in Review 2013: Visual Art



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Wits grows, prepares for West Coast invasion


Since 2010, American Public Media's Wits performances have featured some of the best comedians, actors, and musicians in the world performing sketch comedy, standup, music, and just enjoying some friendly conversation with host John Moe. In 2013, the Wits crew upped their game with an insanely stacked lineup of guests, including Rob Delaney, Hannibal Buress, Jim Gaffigan, and Metric. They've already announced that the show will be invading Los Angeles in the New Year, letting the West Coast see how we hold our own in the Midwest when it comes to unique comedy.

See also:
Aisha Tyler on Wits

Chris Kluwe on Wits
Paula Poundstone on Wits

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The 'stache cometh: Nick Offerman invades Mill City Nights

Mill City Nights has made a strong case for itself this past year as one of the best places to see some of comedy's biggest names. Arguably the biggest name to stop into the former Christian nightclub was Nick Offerman, who plays the iconic rugged man's man Ron Swanson on Parks & Recreation. Offerman performed two very sold-out shows this past February, presenting his one-man show, American Ham, where he offered his 10 keys to living a more fulfilling life. This included songs, stories, and most adorable giggle you'll ever hear from a grown man.

See also:
Our interview with Nick Offerman before the show

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10,000 Laughs Comedy Festival explodes to six venues, over 2,000 fans

In 2011, the 10,000 Laughs Comedy Festival consisted of three shows in front of a few hundred people at Comedy Club Underground. This year, the festival hosted 12 shows across six different venues with roughly 2,000 comedy fans attending. More than just standup, the festival included sketch comedy from local comedy super group the Turkeys, a short video competition, and music from Mark Mallman. Where the fest goes from here is unknown, but for one week this past October, you couldn't step foot in a club without seeing the best comedy our state has to offer.

See also:
10,000 Laughs Comedy Festival brings a week of shows celebrating all things funny
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Acme gets experimental

While Acme Comedy Co. has a long history of being one of the best comedy clubs in the entire country, one thing that sets them apart is their ability to push the envelope. In addition to their insanely stacked standup lineup, this year Acme hosted several more experimental performances, including Crash & Burn, where a group of headliners create an entire set of completely new material on just one days notice. There was also Punchline Punchout, where two teams of comedians compete to perform the best set based off of just a single word or idea. It's that growth and willingness to step outside of the box that continues to make Acme a mecca for comedy in the Twin Cities.

See also:
Punchline Punchout: Local comics do battle at Acme


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The bazillion nights of Dave Chappelle, obviously


As if it was a question? Dave Chappelle shook up the comedy world in November when he performed an unprecedented 12 shows in one week between First Avenue and the Pantages Theatre. To cap off his historic run, Chappelle decided to host a shoot-around with a few of the Timberwolves at the Target Center, serving pancakes and raising money for charity. Not only did he become the first non-musician to get his own star on the wall at First Avenue, but had he stuck around he probably would be the new mayor of Minneapolis.
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