Joseph Scrimshaw brings back How to Swear Like a Minnesotan

The hot dish is back for another round.
The hot dish is back for another round.
Photo courtesy Joseph Scrimshaw
Joseph Scrimshaw is coming off a busy summer that included multiple trips and performances at science-fiction conventions, the continuation of his popular Obsessed podcasts, and a sold-out Minnesota Fringe Festival run. Later this month, he'll present a brand-new piece, Flaw Fest, which will also be turned into a comedy album.

But first, he's giving audiences another chance to catch How to Swear Like a Minnesotan. This will be the third run of the standup/storytelling hybrid this year, following a successful series of performances at the Bryant-Lake Bowl and the aforementioned sold-out dates at the Fringe.

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"I am surprised," Scrimshaw says about the show's success. "But I worry a lot, so I'm surprised whenever anything good happens. That said, I always try to come up with shows and comedy that I want to do, but also connect with an audience. So I've been thrilled with doing a slightly more irreverent, darker, and more honest show about Minnesota that really connects with people."

How is that? "We are truly tortured about our identity. What does Minnesota Nice mean? Is it 'ha ha' funny that our weather is incredibly challenging most of the time or is it actual torture? Do I want to think about Betty Crocker having sex? I think Minnesotans are interested in peering under the tater-tot surface of the hot dish and seeing what the hell's actually bubbling inside all that cream," he says.

Scrimshaw, a regular participant at the Fringe through the years, found himself on the outside looking in on the waiting list in 2013. He got invited to fill an empty slot late in July, and brought out How to Swear Like a Minnesotan for another round. In past years, his popularity had meant performing in venues like the Rarig Thrust. He was still at Rarig this year, but in the tiny Xperimental space. 

"This year my show was in a much smaller theater than normal, so the whole run sold out very quickly. It made for a pleasant but odd experience. My Fringe instincts are to hand people postcards, but the show was sold out. I just wanted to ask people if they would like a few hundred 5½ inch by 8½ inch coasters that happen to have my face and show info on them?" he says.

As the upcoming run will be the third in seven months, there have been some tweaks to the piece, from swapping out stories and jokes to finding the right mix of standup comedy and storytelling

"The biggest change is the beer. For the first run, I drank Grain Belt during the show. During the Fringe I switched to Surly Cynic. So the show is like 3 or 4 percent higher in alcohol-by-volume now," Scrimshaw says.

The show's popularity also means that Scrimshaw will experiment with creating a live audio recording of it. "Since it's audio, I might describe things I see around me a little more, like, 'Hey, there's a Surly Cynic. No, there are two Surly Cynics.'"


How to Swear Like a Minnesotan
7 p.m. Friday and Sunday through September 15
Bryant-Lake Bowl
810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis
For tickets and information, call 612.825.8949 or visit online.
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Bryant-Lake Bowl Theater

810 W. Lake St.
Minneapolis, MN 55408


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