Chris Bliss, Josh Weinstein

He's known as J. Elvis everywhere else in the entertainment business, but when he returns home to Minnesota, he's Josh Weinstein again. While the rest of America sometimes gets him confused with the other Josh Weinstein (the former Simpsons writer and showrunner), the Twin Cities remembers him as one of the founding cast members of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and as a standup comic who went on to Hollywood to write for television. At the age of 17, Weinstein was recruited by MST3K creator Joel Hodgson to work on the show. He stayed on for 33 episodes. In California, a stint as head writer for America's Funniest Home Videos sent him on a serendipitous path that led to Freaks and Geeks, a highly acclaimed, short-lived, NBC drama. "[Freaks and Geeks producer] Judd Apatow had just had a baby," explains Weinstein, "and he was home on Saturday nights when [AFHV] aired. He gave me a laundry list of all the things he liked that I did with the show. He was the only person in show business who ever recognized that I worked on that program." Weinstein is currently doing standup, touring with Cinematic Titanic (a live version of MST3K), and working on a documentary about singer/actor Michael Des Barres. His busy schedule isn't keeping him from one of his favorite gigs though, as he will once again perform with old pal Chris Bliss at Acme. "It's become this perennial show he and I do where the whole set is just he and I onstage the whole time doing a tag team form of standup." Weinstein finds that it's a great format for trying new material. "If I run into a wall, Chris can take over. I like it because it's different, and there's an energy onstage and moments occur that wouldn't if I were onstage alone. People respond to it, and I think they feel that they've seen something different." Similarly, Chris Bliss also enjoys these unique performances with his old friend. And like his old chum, he has a full schedule. Taking up most of his time is his Bill of Rights project, which was established to erect a Bill of Rights monument in all 50 states. "It started as a piece of comedy material," he explains. "Instead of taking the Ten Commandments down, why not put up the Bill of Rights next to it, and let people comparison shop? The Bill of Rights says to speak freely, carry a gun, and pursue happiness. My religion won't give me that kind of deal." 18+. (Pictured: Chris Bliss)
March 20-24, 8 p.m.; March 23-24, 10:30 p.m., 2012

 
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