When you think of cities with an a-list comedy scene, Hopkins might not be the first place that jumps to mind. Michael Edlavitch, owner of Royal Comedy Theatre in Hopkins, has set out to change that.
Having spent 15 years in comedy himself, Edlavitch knew that Hopkins would be a prime location for a club, and recognized that he had the opportunity to provide a stage that wasn’t boxed in to any one type of comedian.
“People relate to comedians, and our audiences aren’t always just white men,” he says. “At the same time, we don’t have a certain ‘type’ of performer. There isn’t a women’s night or an urban comedy night. We just want talented comedians.”
With just 50 seats available, the layout of the venue is a stark contrast to other local spots that can pack in 300-plus people per night, making it an ideal setting for audiences to see their favorite comics up close and personal.
This week, Royal Comedy will celebrate its anniversary while cementing its place in the Twin Cities comedy community with the first-annual Hopkins Comedy Festival.
Taking place Tuesday through Sunday this week, the festival features and insanely stacked lineup of local and national talent, including festival headliner Todd Glass, who will be performing this Saturday at the Hopkins Center for the Arts. The rest of the fest will happen at the Royal, with headliners Chad Daniels, Mary Mack, Mo Alexander, and Joe Cocozzello. Rounding out the schedule for the week will be local standouts including Maggie Faris, Miss Shannan, and Isaac Witty.
While the festival is an immense undertaking for Edlavitch, this week will be the culmination of a slow build that has been happening since he opened the doors about a year ago.
“I went in with realistic expectations,” he says. “We were just doing one show on Saturday, and it was showcase-style. Now we’ve expanded to five shows Thursday through Saturday.”
Up until this week, the club has focused its attention primarily on local talent, with Mike Lester, Bryan Miller, and Wendy Maybury taking the club’s marquee spot. Moving forward, Edlavitch says he hopes this week’s festival is the jumping off point for growth both in terms of audience and range of performers.
“This is a club for all comedians, that won’t change,” he says. “I hope that bringing in these bigger names will draw more people to the club who have never been here before, and allow us to bring in bigger names more regularly.”
As for how this week’s fest might help grow Hopkins into the new epicenter of Twin Cities entertainment, Edlavitch says it is already well on its way.
“There is a lot happening in Hopkins,” he says. “They love festivals out here, and there is so much happening in downtown. Comedy just makes sense here.”
IF YOU GO:
Hopkins Comedy Festival
For complete details, visit royalcomedy.com/#festival.