Now embarking upon its third season, the Minnesota Public Radio-produced Wits has earned a reputation as essential entertainment for anyone seeking the refreshingly unscripted spectacle of curiously matched artists (ranging wildly in style) brought together for one raucous evening of off-the-cuff dialogue. Hosted by the unflappable John Moe (with the versatile John Munson serving as musical director), Wits has grown progressively more assured since its debut, but the guiding spirit of spontaneity remains elemental to the show. The free association of topics and open-ended format allows for a range of possibilities limited only by the imaginations of the participants. Considering the collective creative wattage of the guests assembled for this latest season, which largely pairs sharply satiric comics with critically lauded musicians, any formulaic constraints should prove utterly futile. For example, the year's inaugural show features Tim Meadows, renowned comic and SNL alumnus, and Rhett Miller, songwriter/frontman for revered alt-country group the Old 97's. What previously unsuspected link connects Meadows with Miller? Leave it to John Moe to sort out...or not, depending upon the direction of a dialogue co-steered by the onstage performers and a Twittering audience. Bucking the expectations of standard performances, Wits encourages audience interaction as a means of broadening the waggish conversation. Led with lighthearted candor, Wits resembles a company of friends gathered together for the sake of a laugh.
Fri., March 30, 8 p.m., 2012