Before the Twin Cities established themselves as a hotbed for stand-up comedy, producing some of the biggest names in comedy history, the local scene consisted of five guys in a basement bar doing their best to make people laugh.
The birth of Minnesota stand-up traces back to the 1970s and five people who paved the way: Scott Hansen, Louie Anderson, “Wild Bill” Bauer, Alex Cole, and Jeff Gerbino. The “original five” comedians got their start performing in a Minneapolis dive bar called Mickey Finn’s, and together they led the charge in establishing one of the most vital and vibrant comedy scenes in the country. They opened clubs and comedy stages across the Cities, brought the nation’s top stand-up acts to town, and inspired future generations of ground-breaking comedians—from Lizz Winstead and Joel Hodgson to Mitch Hedberg, Fancy Ray McCloney, and Maria Bamford. But like any artistic passion that rises quickly to become a mainstream phenomenon, the comedy scene eventually was fractured by bloated egos and an influx of money and drugs—until a second wave, led by the nationally renowned Acme Comedy Club, helped bring comedy back to forefront in Minnesota.
Now, decades later, the impact of these early comedy pioneers lives on through television, movies, clubs, and countless stand-up acts who followed their path. The way they carved that path—well, it’s actually a pretty funny story.
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Scott Hansen sadly passed away on September 5, 2021. He was a husband, father, grandfather, friend, mentor and an incredibly talented comedian. To honor his memory, here is the chapter of "Funny Thing About Minnesota," which shares more about his start in comedy, as well as the quality of his character. We'll miss you Scott.
To celebrate the release of the book, comedy legends Louie Anderson, Scott Hansen, Jeff Gerbino, Joel Madison and Lizz Winstead came together for a wild look back at the early days of stand-up in Minnesota!
The history of Twin Cities' stand-up comedy includes a roster of incredible homegrown female talents who broke down barriers, muscled their way into the rooms, and established their own voices. Watch special guests, Stephanie Hodge, Priscilla Nelson, Karen Pickering, and Kristin Andersen-Anderson, as they share memories and stories on how they helped pave the way for generations to come.
Patrick joins author Stephanie Storey for a conversation about Minnesota comedy, how comedy in Minnesota has impacted stand-up far and wide, AND hear about Patrick's brief dive into doing stand-up himself.
Minnesota has some great comics, but none are better than Louie Anderson. He and Patrick joined The Jason Show to talk about "Funny Thing About Minnesota."
Patrick Strait, author of "Funny Thing About Minnesota: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of the Twin Cities Comedy Scene," explains the importance of Minnesota stand-up comedy, and how it all got started.
Before Minneapolis became a hotbed for comedy, the local scene consisted of five guys in a basement bar doing their best to make people laugh. "Funny Thing About Minnesota... The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of the Twin Cities Comedy Scene" explores those wild early years. Author Patrick Strait and comedian Louie Anderson joined the Buzz to chat about the new book.
In a new book on Minnesota Comedy called “Funny Thing About Minnesota,” author Patrick Strait says the New Hope Cinema Grill plays a big role in the Twin Cities comedy scene. Former Maple Grove resident Scott Hansen helped establish standup comedy in the state and eventually ran comedy clubs and developed talent.
Back in 1981, right when stand-up was really hitting its stride in Minneapolis, a film crew with PBS made this documentary featuring all of the comics that were leading the charge. Don’t miss Louie Anderson, Scott Hansen, Stephanie Hodge, Joel Madison, Jeff Cesario, Dudley Riggs and more talking about the state of stand-up...AND BUY THE BOOK, “FUNNY THING ABOUT MINNESOTA” from Minnesota Historical Society Press!
Learn more about the history of stand-up comedy in Minnesota, with interviews from Louie Anderson, Lizz Winstead and more!