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2015 Year in Review: Top comedy moments

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Each year, our local comedy scene grows in new, exciting, and sometimes bizarre ways, making the Twin Cities a hotbed for the funniest people. This year was no different, as we saw the careers of homegrown talents explode on the national stage, comedy mega-stars hand-pick local venues to film their comedy specials, and new, unique showcases come to the forefront, giving the next generation of comedians a platform to continue raising the bar.

In no particular order, we’re taking a look back at the top five biggest Twin Cities comedy moments of 2015. Let the debate begin!

Andy Erikson crushes on Last Comic Standing

This one is a no-brainer, as arguably the biggest local comedy story this year was the rise of local girl-done-good Andy Erikson, who took the country by storm and finished as one of the top five comedians on this season’s Last Comic Standing. After getting her start locally at Acme Comedy Co., and creating a number of local shows that are still running strong, Erikson recently made the move to Los Angeles in order to take the next step in her career. And step she did. She spent the past several months touring theaters across the country with her fellow LCS-finalists, slaying audiences and inspiring a whole new generation of kids attempting to imitate squirrels.

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Hannibal Buress films a new special at Varsity Theater

Over the past 12 to 18 months, Hannibal Buress has made the leap from a successful headliner with a small but dedicated fan base to one of comedy’s superstars. Between scoring his own Comedy Central show, Why? with Hannibal Buress, a regular role on mega-hit series Broad City, and a knockout performance during the Roast of Justin Bieber, fans may have assumed Buress would try and do something extravagant when it came time to record his new special, due out on Netflix early next year. Instead, the comedian set up shop in Dinkytown for three nights at the Varsity Theater. The sold-out shows featured Buress unleashing a full hour of new material, along with his trusty onstage DJ and a few special guests, including members of Doomtree, local comedy standout Brandi Brown, and Astronautalis. This just goes to show that even comedians who didn’t get their start in Minnesota still head to the Twin Cities to feel at home onstage.

Brave New Workshop returns to standup roots

Brave New Workshop’s history in helping to develop iconic Minnesota comedians is well known, with everyone from Louie Anderson to Al Franken cutting their teeth on the BNW stage. That’s why it was no surprise this past January when the theater announced the launch of the Experimental Thinking Comedy Showcase, an evening designed to spotlight the very best in Twin Cities’ standup comedy. Held every fourth Thursday of the month inside Brave New Workshop’s Experimental Thinking Centre Theatre, the show has hosted everyone from BNW alumni like Ellie Hino and Casey Nelson, to longtime comedy staples like Isaac Witty, to the occasional guest spot by the "Grin Reaper.” For only $5, comedy fans have the opportunity to check out the very best talent every month, surrounded by the spirits of comedy legends who helped make BNW the institution that it is today.

Acme Comedy Series takes over The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis

This spring, Acme Comedy Co. continued to book the best comedy talent from all over the nation, hosting three of the funniest female comedians around at the Woman’s Club of Minneapolis. For three nights in March and April, local legend Maria Bamford, best known for her unmistakable voices and numerous TV roles, along with MTV sweetheart Carly Aquilino and Chelsea Lately alumni Fortune Feimster, played sold-out shows, attracting new comedy fans and spotlighting the country’s best comedians.

The rise of Boy Kisses

If there was an award for breakout show of the year, it would definitely go to Boy Kisses. Taking place every Sunday at Universe Games in Uptown, Boy Kisses comedy showcase is equal parts hilarious, awkward, and unpredictable, bringing together fantastic standup comedians, while rolling out a host of characters, games, and even the occasional rap beef. Since its inception back in October of 2014, the show has grown a strong fan base locally, and traveled throughout the Midwest, along with the band The Drug Budget, for the aptly titled "Drug Kisses" tour. This October, the Boys were one of the featured shows during the annual 10,000 Laughs Comedy Festival, and have been begun booking gigs outside of their gaming home base. While they continue to gain momentum and notoriety, creators Turner Barrowman, Collin Klug, Robert Fones, and Drew Janda continue to find new ways to push the envelope each week, with special theme shows like a night modeled after the hit TV show Shark Tank. Whether you’re looking for standup, songs, characters, games, sketches, or potential fist-fights, Boy Kisses has proven it always delivers the unexpected.