Joseph Scrimshaw: "I will miss the beautiful cities overflowing with happy, glowing ex-cons."

We knew something was up when Joseph and Sara Scrimshaw announced an open house for their south Minneapolis home. The confirmation came a few days later: The couple was on their way out of town and off to Los Angeles. It won't be the end of Scrimshaw's signature comedic work in the Twin Cities, but his departure will still leave a hole in the local theater community.

City Pages: So, what brought about the decision to move? 

Joseph Scrimshaw: My wife and I love Minnesota. You can tell because I'm answering a question about moving away by immediately being defensive about it. I'm a true Minnesotan! I love the arts and comedy scene in Minneapolis, and could happily work in the Twin Cities until I die in a freak accident slipping on my spilled beer on the stage of the Bryant-Lake Bowl. And then haunt the place forever.

That said, I've been traveling around performing outside of Minnesota a lot the past few years. I've been meeting many cool people who live and work in Los Angeles, and a lot of great comedy and writing opportunities have come up that I've had to pass on. So it seems like the right time to take the plunge.

Also, I really am tired of the winter. I wrote a bit about breaking up with snow a few years ago. I had the sudden epiphany that as an adult I could actually leave instead of spending four to six months of the year swearing at the air for being the wrong temperature for me. 

CP: What are you and Sara planning to do in L.A.? Do you have leads or jobs lined up?

JS: Sara has been stage managing for big geek events like Jonathan Coulton's Cruise and w00tstock at the San Diego Comic-Con. Last year, she pushed George R.R. Martin onstage for a bit with Paul and Storm. (She pushed with just a little vengeance to pay him back for the "Red Wedding.") So Sara might pursue more production work. She helped manage the James J. Hill House and our production company, Joking Envelope, so she might keep working in art and culture management.

I don't have any specific jobs lined up but a lot of connections and leads. I'll still be producing my own shows, putting out my podcast, Obsessed, and working on my own writing projects with the support of this cool Patreon platform.

I'm also going to be doing a lot more standup, looking for paid writing gigs, and developing some ideas with Hollywood pals for movies, digital series, and podcasts.  

CP: You just got back from this year's JoCo cruise. How did it go this year? Any famous science-fiction authors call you a "bitch" again this year? 

JS: Jonathan Coulton's cruise was once again amazing. The cruise ship itself was extra weird this year. All of the dining rooms were named after Shakespearean tragedies. I ate in "The Scottish Play" room and was thankful there wasn't a Titus Andronicus room. I did a show in the ship's weird goth club on a Monday afternoon. Part of the show was a live version of my made-up sport called Competitive Hugging. The audience volunteers hugged the shit out of each other. I also played a small role in the "Boat Edition" of The Thrilling Adventure Hour podcast. Peter Sagal and I portrayed angry men from the Midwest so it played to our strengths. 

There was another round of Celebrity Artemis. Although this year it was billed far more honestly as "Drunken Celebrity Artemis." I was once again on the same team with John Scalzi, but unlike last year he didn't call me a bitch even once. That said, Grant Imahara tried to kill me by driving through space rocks. Artemis is a great game, but it is surprisingly easy to fly backwards at warp speed. Which we did several times. Often through asteroid fields. Our mission was accomplished in that our horrible explosive death was very amusing to the audience. 

CP:  Are you going away forever? Will there be return engagements in the future?

JS: Leaving Minneapolis was much easier since I already know when I'll be back. I'll be appearing at CONvergence the Fourth of July weekend. I'll be doing a bunch of comedy panels, a reading, a signing, and a brand new "geek-flavored" standup show on the main stage called FUTURE HOLES.

Also, as is true with anyone who moves to Los Angeles, I might be back in Minneapolis in five minutes, five years, or 500 years if we develop some nice robot bodies for our brains. 

CP: What are some of your favorite memories of performing in the Twin Cities?

JS: I have so many great memories in the Twin Cities, but one that pops out is a late-night Fringe show at the Loring Theater. I believe the Loring Theater is now a law office, which only makes this memory better. My brother, Joshua, and I were doing a bit that mixed two of our favorite things: improvisation and Carlo Rossi wine. There was a moment where I left the stage and decided to leap back onto the stage and land on my knees. Somewhere in mid-air, I realized this was a real asshole thing to do to my knees. Upon landing, I was delighted to realize we had spilled enough wine that I actually hydroplaned across the stage. I was kept happy and safe by a protective layer of crap wine. Thanks for the memories, Minneapolis! 

CP: Any "final" messages for the home counties before you head off to the coast?

JS: I'm delighted and tortured to be leaving right at the beginning of spring. I love people-watching in Minneapolis in the spring as people come rushing out of their houses like they've just been released from prison. I will miss seeing the beautiful cities overflowing with happy, glowing ex-cons. Enjoy!