Brooks Wheelan Talks SNL, Biomechanical Engineering

Categories: Comedy
Tazzmaniafuntime via Wikipedia Commons
Brooks Wheelan will be performing at Acme Comedy Co. for the very first time this week. However, it'll actually be his second trip to the club.

"I grew up in Iowa, and drove to Minneapolis when I was 19 so that I could audition for Last Comic Standing," he recalls. "Then I got drunk the night before, and ended up sleeping right through it."

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Interview: Tim Heidecker of Tim and Eric

Categories: Comedy
After a brief stint away from late-night television to make movies, music videos, and web series, Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim are back on Adult Swim with their new show. Tim and Eric's Bedtime Stories began as a half-hour special that aired last Halloween, and has since been picked up for a full season, which premiered last week. For the program, the pair trade in the green-screen and short skits that made them famous on Tim and Eric Awesome Show, Great Job for actual sets and longer stories (though it's an anthology program so the characters change every episode). While the humor still unmistakably comes from the minds of Heidecker and Wareheim, the tone is substantially darker than that of their previous work -- to the point that the first two episodes were almost hard to watch the first time. (They go down a lot easier the second time through, thankfully.)

To support the new show, the duo are hitting the road with their first full-blown live tour since 2010, which includes a stop at the State Theatre this Friday. For the first time, they will be joined by their pal Dr. Steve Brule, as well as arguably the world's number-one joke DJ, DJ Douggpound.

We connected with Heidecker ahead of the Minnesota performance to discuss Bedtime Stories, their incredibly busy year, and the live show.

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Lizz Winstead on Voting and Vaginas

Categories: Comedy
In 2012, Lizz Winstead got fed up with politicians attacking women's reproductive rights. She formed Lady Parts Justice, a group that uses humor and outrage to galvanize women to take political action. This Saturday, they will be throwing a big bash, V to Shining V, at Amsterdam Bar and Hall in St. Paul. The evening will be hosted by Winstead, and features local comedians Kate Conner and Jenn Schaal, and musicians Maria Isa, Mayda, Lucy Michelle, and the Jayhawks. There will also be poets, burlesque dancers, and roller girls, plus lots of games and shenanigans.

We chatted with Winstead about the event and her hopes for empowering women to vote for their vaginas.

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Jen Kirkman on Improv vs. Standup, Phineas and Ferb

Categories: Comedy
"My friends and I were funny together," says comedian Jen Kirkman. "But none of them were interested in comedy like I was. I was interested in comedy, but I wasn't thinking about my future like, 'This means something.'" Kirkman likens herself and her childhood friends to the geeky boys on the TV series Freaks and Geeks. "We watched funny shows and did funny things. But I never translated that into a business plan."

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Impractical Jokers Brings Stunts, Stories, and a Giant Bus to Minneapolis

Categories: Comedy

For the past three and a half years, Q, Murr, Joe, and Sal from the hit show Impractical Jokers have put each other through pretty much every embarrassing stunt and painfully awkward punishment they can think of. But that's nothing compared to what they can do to each other on tour.

This fall, the dudes are hitting the road and bringing their live show to theaters all over the country, sharing videos, stories, and stunts that were too insane for television. Before they wreak havoc on the Orpheum Theatre, we sat down with James "Murr" Murray to talk about their show this Friday night.

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Standup Sean Donnelly on Performing in Alaska, Fur Thongs, Life in Long Island

Categories: Comedy
"I've never been to Minnesota before," says comedian Sean Donnelly. He has, however, performed all over North America. "This past year, I did some pretty crazy places. I was in Reno and I was in Anchorage, Alaska, for the first time in my life. I did comedy there, and I performed in Newfoundland. I've been all over the map."

It was his management company that booked the gig in Alaska. "I didn't turn it down because I'd never been to Alaska. Why else would I have a reason to go there?" After two flights and 10 hours in the air, he was in the 49th state.

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Chris Franjola on Chelsea Lately, Long Island's Legacy, and L.A. vs. NYC

Categories: Comedy
"I've always been a fan of standup comedy," says comedian Chris Franjola. "People like Cheech and Chong and Robin Williams, but I wasn't a crazy over-the-top funny kid." That changed however, when Franjola  turned 16. "I just started to understand it more, and actually go out and do open mics on Long Island. Long Island is a very good comedy town. I don't really know why that is, but a lot of good comedians come from Long Island. I don't know, maybe it's the colliding of cultures that makes it funny."

Could it also have to do with it being one of the country's largest suburban enclaves?

"That could have something to with it," Franjola agrees. "Jerry Seinfeld, Ray Romano, Rosie O'Donnell, and Kevin James are all from Long Island."

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Interview: Standup Will Durst

Categories: Comedy
Will Durst has gotten his days mixed up. Instead of phoning him on his drive up to Lake Tahoe, we instead catch him in Cleveland's Hopkins International Airport. "It's a lovely airport," notes the political satirist and standup comic before settling in for the interview.

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Standup Thai Rivera visits the Twin Cities for the first time

Categories: Comedy, LGBTQ
"This will be my first trip to Minneapolis," says comedian Thai Rivera, who is looking forward to his first visit here. "I've done everything you can imagine as far as comedy goes. A lot of redneck bars, military tours, and churches. All sorts of stuff."

With his politically incorrect offerings, and an openly gay status, that may come as a surprise. However, as outlandish as he can be, he knows how to read an audience, and thus holds back on some of his more extreme jokes. "I can do what people want me to do -- if people are paying me enough, and it's worth it not to do it," he says.

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Jungle Theatre's The Mystery of Irma Vep is a wild ride

Categories: Comedy

Photo by Michal Daniel
Bradley Greenwald and Stephen Cartmell
Charles Ludlam's The Mystery of Irma Vep is a theatrical high-wire act, wherein two actors take on take on multiple characters to bring an over-the-top, supernatural melodrama to life.

It takes place on an isolated estate known as Mandacrest. That's where Lord and Lady Hillcrest reside with their maid Jane and groundskeeper Nicodemus, whose secrets haunt them along with the still-looming presence of Irma Vep, the former lady of the house.

See also:
Jungle revisits The Mystery of Irma Vep

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