Sam Tripoli: "Politics Is Like Pro Wrestling. They're All Getting Paid by the Same People. It's All Fake Drama."

Categories: Comedy
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It's fitting that a comic who does a popular sports podcast is performing at the House of Comedy during Super Bowl week. "I've loved sports since I was kid," says Sam Tripoli, who co-hosts Punch Drunk with fellow comics Ari Shaffir and Jayson Thibault. "But I wasn't good at it. My brother was exceptional at it. He was the number-one high school bowler in New York State. He could bowl 300 with both hands. He was rock-and-bowl Jesus."

The best Sam could muster on the lanes was a 185. "Which is nothing compared to what my brother could do," he says.

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Jackie Kashian on Early Podcasting, Online Dating, Geeking Out

Categories: Comedy
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Michael Helms
With the runaway success of Serial, the spin-off of the popular radio show This American Life, some might get the impression that podcasting is this new thing that just started. However, those familiar with podcasts accurately point out that folks like Jesse Thorn, Marc Maron, and Jimmy Pardo have been doing popular podcasts for ages. Often forgotten in that list of pioneers is Jackie Kashian.

"I started four months after Pardo," notes Kashian. That was in 2006, a year after Keith and the Girl, but three years ahead of Maron.

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Brave New Workshop Gets Back to Standup Roots

Categories: Comedy
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For years, the Brave New Workshop has been responsible for churning out some of the greatest comedians and productions, thanks to their dedication to nurturing funny ideas, regardless of whether they fit within the group's "usual" offerings. 

That's why it should be no surprise that this week the theater will launch the Promiscuous Hostility Standup Showcase inside the Experimental Thinking Centre (ETC) Event Space in downtown Minneapolis. 

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Donnell Rawlings: From Heckler to Standup to Chappelle's Show

Categories: Comedy
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To this day, Donnell Rawlings is still widely recognized as a cast member of Chappelle's Show. "There's something about that show," he says. "It's some kind of ritual. Every seven or eight months, you feel like you've got to pop the DVD in, chill out, and reminisce. It's just incredible."

For Rawlings though, it's all part of the big picture. "I don't think anything is new," he says about developments in his career. "I think everything is a continuation of the direction you're trying to take your career."

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KMOJ Comedy Series Brings Best Urban Comedians to House of Comedy

Categories: Comedy
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When KMOJ morning show host Shed G. relocated from Atlanta to the Twin Cities, he saw a tremendous opportunity. 

"There are so many great up-and-coming urban comedians out there who just need some exposure here in Minnesota," he says. 

In addition to working toward pursuing his own career as a comedian, this week Shed G. will take the next step in his vision of bringing the best urban comedians to Minnesota with the introduction of the KMOJ Comedy Series at House of Comedy.


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Chris Bliss on Juggling, Viral Videos, Ted Talks

Categories: Comedy
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The odds of a particular video going viral are pretty long, and the odds that the subject of that video will go viral twice are even longer. Comedian Chris Bliss has managed to do just that.

The Washington, D.C., native started off in show business as a juggler, but realizing the creative limitations of that, he moved into standup in the '80s at the behest of some comedian friends here in Minneapolis.

"It took a while to convince me, because I was having such a good time with shiny objects," he says. At the height of his juggling success, he was part of Michael Jackson's Thriller tour. Then he had the epiphany. "After that tour, it was clear I'd probably be doing a 12-minute juggling act in Las Vegas for the rest of my life. That sounded like a more like a prison sentence than a career."

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The Dan Band Brings Girl Songs, Acrobatics, and Zima to Mill City Nights

Categories: Comedy
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For most people, drunkenly slurring their way through a karaoke song ends with an embarrassing camera-phone video and a brutal hangover. For Dan Finnerty, it launched him to stardom.

"I was drunk and doing karaoke in L.A., and I decided to do 'I Am Woman,'" he says of his musical beginnings. "Then it sort of just spun out of control."

Finnerty caught the attention of director Todd Phillips, who went on to cast him (and his newly established backing band) as a sleazy wedding group in Old School, a sleazy bat-mitzvah band in Starsky & Hutch and, well, another sleazy wedding band in The Hangover

He parlayed his onscreen career to the stage, and has toured the country belting out covers of some of pop music's sassiest singles, and even released a Christmas album featuring nothing but original Dan Band holiday jams. 

Before he brings his live show to Mill City Nights, we talked with Finnerty about wedding songs, Zima, and his dream of channeling Sia. 


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Jen Kober on Political Standup, Improvising Jokes

Categories: Comedy
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"I always wanted to be a comedian and be on television," says Jen Kober. "When I was six years old, I was ready for that." Mission accomplished. Not only has she done standup several times on national TV, she has appeared on several sitcoms, including The Mindy Project and Anger Management.

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Teen Wolf's Orny Adams on Standup: "If Everybody Gets It, It's Not a Good Bit"

Categories: Comedy
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"A lot of comics talk about world issues or the big picture," says comedian Orny Adams. "I focus on the little things that drive us nuts. I want people to say, 'Is he that worked up over ceiling fans?' And the answer is yes."

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Alingon Mitra: "I Never Want It to Just Be Comedy for People I Would Be Hanging Out with Otherwise"

Categories: Comedy
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Long before he tried standup comedy, Alingon Mitra wrote for the Harvard Lampoon, including that publication's parody of National Geographic magazine.

Growing up, he'd been a fan of standup, but didn't picture himself doing it. "Back in middle school, I'd watch Comedy Central because there was always some sort of standup on. At the time it was predominately a standup comedy channel."

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