2012 in review: Top five Twin Cities comedy moments

2012 in review: Top five Twin Cities comedy moments
Maria Bamford peforms a set in her parent's living room

Let's not be humble; the Twin Cities comedy scene is a big deal.

Pretty much any night of the week, you can catch a theater show, club performance, or open-mic night that is so packed with talent; it would make even the snobbiest "big city" comedy fan envious. In 2012, our fine city upped its comedy-cred with a year packed with big names, breakout talent, and memorable events. Let's take a look at five of the biggest highlights from the past 12 months that proved why our state is better than your state when it comes to making people laugh.

(Note: These are not in chronological order, because comedy fans are big drinkers and forget dates. Let's begin.)

1. Chad Daniels films a special at Acme Comedy Co.

Chad Daniels was arguably the MVP of Twin Cities comedy in 2012. In March, he recorded a brand-new one-hour special at Acme Comedy Co., which he released for free back in June through the well-known comedy website That same day, he released his new album, You're the Best, through local comedy powerhouse label Stand Up! Records, and appeared on Conan that night to promote his new offerings. This was definitely the summer of Chad-a-Palooza (our words, not his).

2. Local standouts blowup the small screen

Speaking of late-night television, two of our area's most promising up-and-coming standups graced the small screen for the very first time this year when local favorite Cy Amundson appeared on Conan, and later that same week City Pages' own Bryan Miller performed on The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson. While the rest of the world saw these two showcase their talents on the small screen, local comedy fans have been spoiled by seeing them on stages all across the state.

3. Dave Chappelle makes triumphant(?) return to Twin Cities, confuses everyone

2012 in review: Top five Twin Cities comedy moments

With just 24 hours advanced notice, one of the biggest -- and most elusive -- stars in comedy made a stop in Minneapolis at the State Theatre. While reviews of the show were mixed, the real action happened later in the evening when Chappelle wandered the streets, enjoying drinks and hookah with lucky fans. Some of the evening's escapades were captured on camera, creating what we can only imagine is the ultimate Facebook profile picture. The legend of Chappelle continues.

4. Comedy's biggest star performs at the Convention Center

Louis CK changed the standup comedy game in a lot of ways in 2012. After self-releasing his own special online at the end of last year (and paving the way for a lot of other comics to do the same in 2012), CK once again cut out the pricey barrier between him and his fans in 2012 when he sold tickets to his new tour exclusively through his website. In the process, he cut out the bullshit fees and scalper mark-ups, and proved that you can have a successful tour without price gouging your fans.  

Minneapolis was lucky enough to get the Emmy award-winning star for two nights of crowd-slaying performances at the Minneapolis Convention Center, effectively making it the coolest thing to hit the Convention Center since the last boat show.

5. Maria Bamford kills in her parents' living room

Taping a special can be a stressful experience for any standup. The lights, crew, audience; there are plenty of opportunities for something to go wrong. Fortunately, when Maria Bamford taped her new special,

The Special, Special Special!

, she absolutely killed. Granted, the audience was only two people (her parents), and the venue was pretty intimate (their living room).

The new special was released online this past month, following the same model Louis CK pioneered. The Minnesota native also made her triumphant return to town at the end of November with a sold out Wits performance at the Fitzgerald Theater, proving that she can still put on an incredible show for an audience other than her mom and dad. Still, if there's one thing Bamford proved with her special, it's that Christmas at her parents' house is much more entertaining than it is at yours.

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