Photo by Mindy Tucker
Sure, 2013 might have been hell to live through, but that's a boon to Lizz Winstead's end-of-the-year review, which moves to the Cedar Cultural Center for its fifth edition.
In fact, the planning is more about what to leave out than what to put in. Winstead will work on the exact shape of the shows in the days leading up to Saturday. "I'll be talking about the biggest news stories of the year. It could mean anything from the year in foreign policy to that fat crack addict mayor of Toronto. I run around the stage like a banshee," she says from her home in New York.
That likely is going to mean jokes about Ted Cruz and other misfits of the G.O.P., the seriously fucked-up unveiling of the health-care websites, and bits and bobs that easily could have been forgotten in the last 12 months.
"It's like old friends together gossiping about friends at a party. It is a very fun way to present material, rather than hammering [the audience] over the head," Winstead says.
After all, 2013 likely gave everyone in the audience a headache. "I think the government shutdown was an amazing thing. With Obamacare, the launch was full of hilarity. It was so awful," Winstead says.
"I remember sitting down at the end of February last year after a bunch of crap had gone down and thinking I could be done with next year's show right now, yet we have 10 months to go. It feels like it is crazier every year. We keep electing dumber and dumber people," Winstead adds.
The Minnesota native has made a career out of poking fun at those in charge, from being a creator of The Daily Show to her own programs and standup routines. It's a career that started 30 years ago this month, when Winstead went to an open-mic performance at the Brave New Workshop.
"I got some laughs from some crummy jokes. I did it a second time and I bombed, so I had to do it a third time. The third time was right in the middle, so I had to do a fourth time. Thirty years later, I'm still trying to figure out if I should be doing this. I'm still trying to average it out," Winstead says.
In the 1980s, the Twin Cities arts community was a fostering place to come of age. "There was a burgeoning comedy community and music community. There were writers and painters all living in this punk-rock ghetto area. There were so many of us we thought it was normal," Winstead says. "Minnesota is a smart and forgiving place. When you are starting out, they don't judge you."
Hanging out in Minneapolis, organizing comedy gigs at 7th St. Entry, and gigging around town gave Winstead a chance to develop and hone her skills away from the glare of the coasts. "It was like the industry came to us," she says.
With 2013 almost in our taillights, Winstead is looking ahead to 2014. This includes more work in support of reproductive rights, along with possibly developing new shows.
"The goal of the night is to have a big catharsis for an insane year. A lot of folks have had a rough year. It's important for people to come and have a laugh for a good year or a bad year or one in between," Winstead says.
IF YOU GO:
Lizz 2013: The Windbags Beneath My Wings
8 p.m. Saturday, December 28 and New Year's Eve
Cedar Cultural Center
416 Cedar Ave., Minneapolis
For tickets and more information, call 612.338.2674 or visit online