Last Comic Standing recap: Final 5

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NBC/Ben Cohen
This season of Last Comic Standing has been an overwhelming success for NBC. In addition to the show's having strong summer ratings and earning itself a subsequent ninth season, this past week it was announced that the final five comedians would hit the road this fall for the Last Comic Standing tour, which will stop at Mystic Lake Casino on November 15.

But before all that, this week began the final sprint toward crowning a brand-new Last Comic Standing champion.

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Standup Amber Preston on new adventures in Los Angeles

Categories: Comedy
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Comedian Amber Preston was born and raised in Fargo, but now feels she's put some distance between herself and her hometown, figuratively and literally. "I've been away from Fargo longer than I lived there," she explains. "I graduated from high school, and then moved to Minneapolis and lived there for 15 years. Then in January, I moved to Los Angeles. I'd been wanting to for a while and, finally, one of the girls I'm living with now messaged me on Facebook. There were a bunch of Minneapolis comics moving out there at the time, and it was winter. This past winter was horrendous, so I figured, 'This is the time. Let's go for it.'"

Returning this week to do a series of shows at the Joke Joint provides an affordable way to come back and visit family and friends. "Any chance I get to get paid and come back and see them, I'll do it." 

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Jimmy Pardo on Kojak, having Walter Koenig as a father-in-law

Categories: Comedy
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Never Not Funny, comedian Jimmy Pardo's podcast, continues to grow in popularity. Along with Marc Maron's WTF and The Adam Carolla Show, it is consistently at the top of the charts. In January, the show moved from its very successful pay model to a free platform at the behest of Earwolf, the comedy podcast network run by comedians Jeff Ullrich and Scott Aukerman. "They wanted us to be part of the Earwolf team," Pardo explains. "We'd been pursued by several networks in the past, but we decided to take the plunge with these guys."

Pardo and his producer/co-host, Matt Belknap, have known Aukerman for quite a while. "I've worked with Scott on various projects over the past 10 years, so it seemed like the right landing spot for Never Not Funny."

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Last Comic Standing recap: Roast challenge

Categories: Comedy, TV
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NBC/Ben Cohen
And then there were five.

Last night, Last Comic Standing claimed its 95th victim of the season, when another comedian was sent packing in the final head-to-head elimination of the season.

Before two of the contestants hit the stage to fight for their proverbial reality TV lives, we got a front-row seat to the final challenge: roasts.

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Comedians and mini cars join forces in new Jokes2Go web series

Categories: Comedy
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What happens when you take a handful of the Twin Cities' funniest comedians and combine them with one tiny car? You have Joke Joint Comedy Club's new web series, Jokes2Go.

To celebrate the kickoff of its "Best Comedian Ever!" contest, which begins tonight, Joke Joint has partnered with presenting sponsor car2go to create a series of videos featuring 13 of the 64 contest participants, driving around the Twin Cities in their very own car2go (not all at the same time, obviously).


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Interview: Standup comedian J. Chris Newberg

Categories: Comedy
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Comedian J. Chris Newberg is a man of many talents. "I started off doing music," he explains. "Then I went to standup. Actually, I went from music to sketch to standup." His musical interest stretches back quite far, though. "To birth," he says. "Music has been an interest forever. I played guitar in high school and was in a band."

His early influences were Guns N' Roses, Bon Jovi, and Cinderella. "But I got out of that, and got interested in singer-songwriter stuff like Elvis Costello," he explains. You can still hear how music influences him, though, as his act frequently includes songs, choruses, and even musical lines.


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Arj Barker: "Acme is one of the clubs I try and get back to every year when I'm in the States"

Categories: Comedy
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Comedian Arj Barker is in that odd club of entertainers who are widely recognized in a country or countries, but not so much in their own. In his case, it's the Australians who have embraced him. "I think you get a little head start when you're from somewhere else, because you're instantly more exotic," he reasons. He wouldn't mind duplicating that success here, though. "It's a little sad that my own country doesn't embrace me, but no guilt trip," he laughs.

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Last Comic Standing recap: Universal Tram Experience

Categories: Comedy, TV
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NBC/Ben Cohen
In a move that no one saw coming, this week's Last Comic Standing gave us a head-to-head elimination match-up that probably should have been saved for the finale. Before the epic showdown took place, however, the remaining seven contestants faced their next challenge: improv.

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Tiffany Norton talks comedy mid-life crisis

Categories: Comedy
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Tiffany Norton got her standup comedy career started all the way back in 2003. Sort of.

"My first time trying comedy was at Knuckleheads at Mall of America, and I was horrible," she says of her stage debut. "After that I didn't try it again for a long time."

Four years later, Norton decided to re-dedicate herself to comedy, and this time it stuck. These days, she can be found performing at comedy clubs all over town, and this Saturday Norton will be headlining at New Hope Cinema Grill.



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Barry Rothbart on competitive eating, sketch comedy, new projects

Categories: Comedy

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Comedian Barry Rothbart will arrive in Minneapolis on the heels of the release of his documentary Hungry. "We're really excited about it," he says. "We followed [competitive eater] Takeru Kobayashi, the hot dog-eating guy. He's kind of the focus." Recent Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest winner Joey Chestnut is also featured.

"There's this whole battle," Rothbart explains. "Kobayashi was arrested at the competition four years ago because there was a contract dispute, and he couldn't compete. He showed up anyway, and they had him arrested. After that it turned into a huge battle with Major League Eating, the body that sanctions the Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest. The film revolves around his conflict with them."

See also:

Kevin Bozeman: "It's uncomfortable to be friends with me sometimes, that's how much I love sports"


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