Courtney McClean Gets Punny at Pundamonium

The 10,000 Laughs Comedy Festival is winding down, but it's going out in the most punny way possible. 

A unique new addition to this year's festival is Saturday night's Pundamonium, featuring some of the very best local comedians engaging in the ultimate battle of wordplay. 

The show itself is pretty self-explanatory: Each comedian will be given a random topic, then handed a microphone, and challenged to rattle off as many puns referring to that topic as possible. In addition to all of the punning happening that night at Comedy Corner Underground, comedy music group Courtney McClean and the Dirty Curls will perform a special headlining set. 

We caught up with Ms. McClean herself this past week to talk about puns, music, and her dual role as a performer and a producer of the festival.

How did you first get hooked up with the 10,000 Laughs Festival?

I've known Bob [Edwards, founder of the festival] for a long time, just from doing comedy and music at open mics and different things around town. Last year, Zach Coulter and I put together Court & Zach's Desperate for Attention Twin Cities TourFest, and I think Bob recognized the drive we had in putting that together. So when this year's 10,000 Laughs Comedy Festival rolled around, he just asked me to be a part of it.

You're performing at Saturday night's Pundamonium show. How did that evening come to be included in the fest?

I've actually hosted Pundamonium before at other venues around town. Art Allen, who invented Pundamonium, has had me perform at the show, too. So when we [the producers] got together to figure out what shows to do this year, we all agreed that Pundamonium had to be a part of it.

For those who haven't seen it before, what makes Pundamonium so unique?

A lot of times standup comedians stick to what's comfortable, and this show makes them step outside of that comfort zone. It's funny because Pundamonium is one of those shows that makes you roll your eyes when you hear about it, but when you see it for yourself it's just a hilarious evening.

Do you think that this show speaks to the diversity of the Twin Cities comedy scene?

I think that the cool thing about the arts scene in Minnesota as a whole is that we're always up for trying something unique and different. I used to live in New York, and there it's all about how many TV credits you can get and stuff like that. Comedians still care about stuff like that here, but the community is so proud of our artists that we can do things that might be more of a risk.

Does Pundamonium open up the show to more performers outside of just standup?

Absolutely. Everyone knows we have this amazing standup comedy scene, but they might not realize just how good our improv scene is, too. This show still caters more to standups, just because that's who has always been involved with the festival, but I think you'll see the talent pool open up more in the next few years. 

How do you think that you and the Dirty Curls fit in with this show?

I'm somewhat of a scene jumper in the Twin Cities comedy community. I do comedy music, which doesn't exactly have a "scene" so to speak, but it's growing. This show kind of combines a lot of different types of comedy, and so it just made sense for us to be a part of it.

Any plans for the future of the festival?

I hope to be part of it as long as they'll have me. I'd love to see a comedy music show, more improv, and just a lot more unique types of comedy incorporated. It's such a great week with such amazing talent, and I think we can bring in even more talent.


Pundamonium with Courtney McClean and the Dirty Curls
Comedy Corner Underground
Saturday, October 25, 7:30 p.m.