It's Crash & Burn week at Acme, and Carmen Lynch doesn’t know what she’s getting into

Image courtesy the standup.

Image courtesy the standup.

“[Crash & Burn creator] Tim [Slagle] called and told me that I had to do these shows,” she says while preparing for her trip to Minneapolis. “I don’t really know much else about it, but I’m excited.”

Now in it’s seventh year, Crash & Burn has become an annual tradition at Acme Comedy Co. The premise is simple: Four headliners create a brand-new 20-minute set, which they continue to work on throughout the course of the week, with the hope that something hilarious will come out the other side.

“I’ve never heard of any other show that’s dedicated to creating an all-new act,” Lynch says.

The event started as an idea that Slagle kicked around following the massive success that was Acme’s 20-year anniversary celebration. Having that many headliners in one place had Slagle’s creative juices flowing, and he wanted to harness that into an annual gathering. From there, Crash & Burn was born.

Since it’s inception, a who’s-who of comedians have been a part of the comedy experiment, including Pete Lee, Tracy Ashley, and Martha Kelly. This week, Slagle will be joined by Lynch, along with long-time Acme favorite J. Elvis Weinstein, and local star-on-the-rise Cy Amundson. With that much comedy talent in one room, you’d think things could get competitive. Lynch says that for her, that couldn’t be further from the truth.

“I think the real competition is with myself,” she says. “I just want to try things and see what works. I want to see everyone do well, and I like the challenge of doing new material.”

Last year, Acme gave fans a look behind the curtain with a live broadcast of one of the weekday writing sessions. This year, they’ll take things one step further with a live writing session Thursday night, immediately following the show.

“I love the process of breaking down the jokes and working on the material. To me, it’s really interesting,” Lynch says. “I don’t know that other people will think it’s as interesting, but I guess we’ll find out.”

While standups like Lynch are constantly stockpiling ideas for new material, a packed touring schedule (after Acme, she’s headed overseas to London for a month) and TV spots can make it hard to focus on putting pen to paper (or finger to phone, for anyone under 25). But that doesn’t mean the ideas stop flowing.

“I have so many ideas and things written down in notebooks, on my laptop, and in my phone,” Lynch says. “If I don’t write something down it’s gone. I’m going to bring all of that with me and dig into it.”

This week is the metaphorical equivalent of throwing a bunch of shit against a wall and seeing what sticks. The difference is that the shit are brand new jokes from four of the best comedians in the world, and the wall is the audience.

Crash & Burn 7
Acme Comedy Co.
8 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday; 10:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday