North Carolina native Paul Hooper returns to the Twin Cities this week fresh off the debut of his brand-new CD, Tense and Uncomfortable. The CD, released October 14, is the comedian's first and reflects an organic style. That includes the title. "Dan Schlissel, who runs Stand Up! Records, came up with it," explains Hooper. "A few years ago when I moved to New York, we were trying to get the cover art together, and he introduced me to a photographer." Via email, the photo shoot was set up, with Schlissel telling the photographer to "keep in mind that Paul is tense and uncomfortable, so play with that." Hooper wrote back, "I saw that." But he realized Schlissel was right, and after going through a number of potential titles that's what they settled on. Hooper is now building a new hour, which he hopes to record next March. "[There's] 35 to 40 minutes of Tense and Uncomfortable I don't even do anymore," he says. "There are two or three jokes I still do, but my set now is totally different." His new material continues to be more personal. "I think I'm more self-aware as I go on. So I'm just trying to get that," he says. "Each year, I want to take more of the truth and make that funny, and I think I'm also getting more comfortable with telling longer stories onstage and truly being myself." With Tiffany Norton.
Oct. 31-Nov. 2, 8 p.m.; Nov. 1-2, 10:30 p.m., 2013