The Joke Joint in Bloomington is a great place to catch top Minnesota comics breaking onto the national touring circuit, and this weekend's lineup, which includes a special Wednesday-night show, features both a premier young headliner and a former local scenester now working in New York. Tommy Thompson (pictured) got his start writing jokes for his brother Shannon, who's also a Twin Cities comic, but his big brother urged Tommy to try them out himself. Tommy has since ascended through the ranks and now headlines shows and works clubs throughout the Midwest. Thompson's stage demeanor is deceptively casual, and his material constantly surprises with its rough edges and sharp turns. Feature act Joe Cocozzello explains, mostly serious for just a second, "I got into this trying to write intelligent shit jokes." It's all about the intersection of the inane and the profane for Cocozzello, for whom the show is also a homecoming. "I'm excited to see my family and my comedy family. The Minneapolis scene is really picking up and becoming what I'd always hoped for it."
Wednesdays, Fridays, 8 p.m.; Fridays, 10:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 7:30 & 10 p.m. Starts: Nov. 25. Continues through Nov. 28, 2009