Comedy is alive and well in Minnesota. Five venues lead the stand up comedy list, each with a variety of comedy genres. Some clubs draw national stand-up talent supported by local warm-up acts, while others offer a variety of comedy with resident staff.
Acme Comedy Club
708 N. 1st St.
Minneapolis, MN 55401
Headlining national touring comedians, Acme stakes a credible claim as “one of the best comedy clubs in the country.” Having perfected the jollity formula over the course of 24 years, Acme draws outstanding talent and perceptive spectators week after week. The cozy club set-up in the lower level of the North Loop’s Itasca Building is the perfect recipe for humor. Sticks Restaurant offers a full menu with a good wine list, many beers on tap and curious cocktail carafes sporting interesting names like The Bob Hope and The Three Stooges.
Joke Joint Comedy Clubs
801 Sibley Memorial Highway
Saint Paul, MN 55118
Spend less, laugh more in Lillydale. See local and national comedy at a bargain in this intimate old theatre filled with small tables hugging a small stage. Get sliders, snacks and samplers, or all–you-can-eat popcorn with beer, wine or cocktails from a small menu. An even better bargain, open mic Wednesday, is free. Value seekers can dine at the Moose on Thursday and get free passes to Joke Joint for the same evening. Be sure to call Joke Joint for reservations to ensure you will have a seat. Moose Country Whiskey and Food is across the small parking lot from the Comedy Club.
Stevie Ray’s Comedy Cabaret
Chanhassen Dinner Theatres
501 W. 78 St.
Chanhassen, MN 55317
Stand-up comedy is back at Comedy Cabaret. Stevie Ray started his career producing comedy shows in 1989 at a club in Uptown. “We used to create comedy-variety,” says Ray. “But we had gotten away from that through the years and went to all-improv. Our new richer and deeper format still has improv, but includes stand-up comedians, comedy sketches, and music.” Ray intends to invite a stand-up comedian each night that may be a first-timer, a returning alumnus or a long-time professional.
Related: Best Improv Comedy In Minnesota
3001 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55408
If variety is the spice of life, ComedySportz is salsa. The headliner show for which the club is named is ComedySportz. It plays in the 8 p.m. primetime slot on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights. This successful format has been running for 25 years and counting. Two teams of comics compete for laughs and points. See new laugh lines pop in every show. Stop by at 10:30 p.m. on Friday for what Artistic Manager Doug Neithercott calls The Genre Spot. He produces adult humor skits on a variety of themes from improvised soap operas to disaster movies. “It’s genre improv at its best,” says Neithercott. Saturday’s late night show, NC-17, is filled with a variety of adult blue skits.
Brave New Workshop
824 Hennepin Ave.
Minneapolis, MN 55403
Dudley Riggs created a comedy machine with legs. Founded 57 years ago in a coffee house on East Hennepin, it has since spawned a sitting U.S. Senator and may be the oldest ongoing comedy theater in the country. Named in honor of Huxley’s “Brave New World,” this institution spins out satirically scripted topical comedy shows and edgy improv examining issues of the day in a way that entertains, humors and provokes. For example, the current show, “Mad Vax: Beyond Measledome,” probes societal limits on personal freedom, who should be an opinion leader and ‘what is that rash on my leg?’ The new downtown location provides comfortable accommodations for an entertaining evening.
Robin Johnson was born in Annandale, Minn. and graduated from Richfield High School and then the University of Minnesota where he studied Political Science, Business and Industrial Relations. A writer for Examiner.com, he also consults with a variety of organizations and individuals helping them develop and grow. His work can be found at Examiner.com.