Riley Cosgrove brings comedy to Lush with Thots & Prayers series

Riley Cosgrove

Riley Cosgrove

Comedian Riley Cosgrove was always destined for standup comedy. That doesn’t mean he wanted to be a comic. He honestly didn’t have any other choice.

“My dad is a lawyer and wanted me to be a lawyer or something productive, but instead I just have a communications degree and gonorrhea,” Cosgrove explains. “So there’s really nowhere else you can go besides standup comedy.” 

Gonorrhea aside, Cosgrove is one of the funniest and most outspoken comedians in the Twin Cities scene today. He got his start in comedy in his native Iowa back in 2013. But it wasn’t until he arrived in Minneapolis in 2017 that he dedicated himself to developing as a comic.

“I had to get the fuck out of Iowa,” he says. “I was doing standup, but I was so fucking depressed being in Iowa that I wasn’t taking it that seriously. When I got to Minneapolis it rejuvenated my standup, but I still had to work my way into the scene. It took a while for people to take me seriously because people from Minnesota can be insular and weird.”

Now, nearly seven years into his standup career, Cosgrove is not only a performer, he’s giving others a platform to share their comedy. This Friday at Lush, Cosgrove will present the third installment of his Thots & Prayers comedy night.

Cosgrove will host and headline the event, along with comics Tido Maldonado, Ruth Allen, Jakey Emmert, and Sarah McPeck, plus a special drag performance by Miss Betty Z. 

“I wanted to do a show of all women comics but then I thought, ‘Fuck. I really want Jakey and I really want Tido.’”

In addition to a strong lineup of comics, the show will benefit the Aliveness Project, a local nonprofit providing resources to people living with HIV. But just because the show is for a good cause doesn’t mean Cosgrove plans on dialing back his give-no-fucks-style of comedy. 

“I want to utilize some visual pieces for the show,” he explains. “Like my mom left a note for her cleaning lady that’s really funny, so I’m going to share that. My mom is a white, privileged, Boomer cunt. I mean, she’s a Democrat, but she doesn’t get up before 11 a.m. and she’s drunk six nights a week. So the idea of her leaving a note for the cleaning lady is hilarious.” 

While the show itself may be less glitzy than some of the other shows at Lush, Cosgrove believes its success will ultimately be up to the audience.

“I’ll try and be fun and just act like an idiot,” he says. “And if people don’t laugh, it’s because they had a poor childhood. And that’s their problem.” 


Thots & Prayers
7 p.m. Friday, March 6
$10; 18+
Click here for details