Emerging earlier than the written word, the concept of comedy has such archaic origins that any attempt to retrace the evolutionary history must be considered a fool's errand. Practicality of purpose, however, has never held much weight next to the speculative absurdities that have long guided the work of comedy maestro Joseph Scrimshaw and the ensemble jesters of Four Humors Theater. A collaborative exhibition featuring a dizzying array of comedic forms, Comedy: The Show runs through scripted sketches, solo standup bits, and improvised flashes of madcap mirth. Though the goal of encompassing so many diverse styles might seem impossibly broad, the show's provocateurs are uniquely qualified to pull off the stunt. A humor institution in and of himself, Scrimshaw has partnered with nearly every comic mind in the Twin Cities, frequently in the sharp satire that characterizes the works of his production company, Joking Envelope. Likewise, Four Humors Theater has built a reputation over recent years for raucous seasons full of wildly unpredictable subjects and sources. With Scrimshaw and Four Humors likely to revel in the spontaneous and unexpected, Comedy: The Show has an ideal home upon the Minnesota Centennial Showboat, a venue that powerfully evokes the eclectic spirit of vaudeville. But even as the evening looks to the past for guidance, the cast and crew can always be relied upon to steer their comedy into uncharted waters. 18+.
Fri., July 27, 10 p.m., 2012