Lizz Winstead celebrates her 30th anniversary in comedy Saturday
One night in 1983, Lizz Winstead was watching The Tonight Show with a friend. After cracking up over George Carlin, the friend turned to Winstead and suggested that she might be good at comedy herself.
Six months of clandestine joke-writing and comedy-watching later, Winstead did it: On December 18, 1983, she hit her first open mic at Dudley Riggs.
This Saturday, Winstead will celebrate 30 years since that first standup performance. In the decades since, she's created TV shows like The Daily Show and O2Be, written her new memoir, Lizz Free or Die, and most recently, prepared to create a documentary about the state of women's health care across the country. On Saturday, onstage at the Woman's Center of Minneapolis, Winstead will reflect on all of it.
"I'm doing something I really have never done before," explains Winstead. "I was trying to figure out a way for me to address this milestone, and I realized the best way to do it is anecdotally. So it's going to be an evening of storytelling."
- COVER: The life of Lizz Winstead: The Daily Show creator returns home to Minnesota
- Slideshow: Comedian Lizz Winstead: Behind the scenes
For the event, dubbed "Lizz Free or Die: The Book, the Career, the Life," Winstead will reunite with two of her long-time collaborators. On one hand will be Brian Unger, close friend, former boyfriend, early The Daily Show correspondent, and co-creator of O2Be. On the other will be Frank Conniff, who first met Winstead when she was working Minneapolis open mics in the '80s, and later joined forces with her on O2Be and Air America Radio.
"We're going to reflect on how pivotal moments happened, and add other context," says Winstead. "Brian and I have a history and Frank and I have a history and the three of us have a history together."
The conversation will alternate between readings from Lizz Free and Conniff, Unger, and Winstead's behind-the-scenes takes. Before the end of the night, two of Winstead's siblings -- including brother Gene, the mayor of Bloomington -- will join her onstage to tell and re-tell some of the classic family tales that Winstead weaves through the book, and that help explain where she gets her comedic sensibility.
"You get Lizz, Brian, and Frank talking, and I don't know what's going to pop out of their mouths," says Maggie Macpherson, Winstead's close friend. "And then with her siblings up there, things will get interesting. Her family is hilarious. It's just going to be really fun."
For more on the Life of Lizz, check out this week's cover story.
IF YOU GO:
Lizz Free or Die: The Book, The Career, The Life
with Brian Unger, Frank Conniff, and Winsteads
Saturday, May 11. VIP Reception 6:30 p.m., Doors at 7 p.m., show at 7:30 p.m.
$30 regular, $60 VIP at Etix
The Woman's Club of Minneapolis
410 Oak Grove Street, Minneapolis
Get the Arts & Culture Newsletter
Find out about arts and culture events in Minneapolis & St. Paul and offers you won't hear about anywhere else.