The Scrimshaw brothers build up courage for their New Year's Eve performances.
Photo courtesy Joshua and Joseph Scrimshaw
The turn of the calendar means that once again the Bryant-Lake Bowl will be an all-Scrimshaw affair Monday night, as four different performances will be featured. Earlier in the evening, Joshua English Scrimshaw and Levi Weinhagen of Comedy Suitcase present the all-ages Baby New Year's Time Traveling Diaper Party #2. Later in the evening, Joshua and brother Joseph lead another round of The Year in Denial.
So what makes these shows tick? Let's find out.
City Pages: How do the two shows differ? Are there different audiences you are searching for?
Joshua English Scrimshaw:
Both shows are in search of a paying audience. Once that hurdle is cleared, there are one or two distinctions. Comedy Suitcase specializes in all-ages comedy. This essentially means no swear words or explicit sex jokes. Beyond that, it's a zippy mix of verbal and physical humor aimed at kids and adults alike.
Our mission for the early shows is to have a New Year's show that doesn't rule out going to a party afterwards. It's also a chance for parents to take kids out for a little fun and still get them passed off to a babysitter for a guilt-free night on the town.
Joseph Scrimshaw: The late-night shows will be later. There will probably be more champagne onstage. At least, inside me.
CP: What will be different about them this year?
Joseph: Last year, the Scrimshaw Brothers show experimented with having a very fast-paced mix of sketches, standup, improv, and music. This year, in deference to people who use the term "skit," we'll probably do a few of those as well. Joshua and I are also working on a couple of new takes on some old sketch structures we used to do for our monthly cabaret Look Ma, No Pants. As comedians, it's fun to see how cultural things like James Bond or Lord of The Rings swing in and out of relevance to a mainstream audience over the years.
Joshua: Comedy Suitcase is sticking with the same variety show format we did last year but the content is brand spanking new. We'll also be revisiting Andy Kraft as Baby New Year. Andy even vowed to gain weight for the role so he can be extra pudgy and adorable toddling around in his man diaper.
CP: Do you have any special guests for the shows?
Joshua: In addition to Mr. Kraft, Comedy Suitcase has a veritable cavalcade of guest stars including Josh Carson, Laura Zabel, Dan Hetzel, Adrienne English, and Andrew Moy. Some of these guests may or may not be married to the producers. Levi and I will also be performing with our children. Levi's daughter Irene has been working on her ukelele skills and my kids, Aaron and Miriam, will each be doing a sketch with me. I wanted to put Aaron and Miriam in the same sketch but they have problems sharing.
Joseph: For the Scrimshaw Brothers show, our good friends and great comedians Eric Webster and Shanan Custer will be onstage. Eric and Shanan got married this year, so the late shows will consist of two brothers hanging out with newlyweds. It is a sitcom waiting to happen.
CP: Looking back at 2012, what have you learned over the last 12 months? Was the year successful for you?
I remember having an epiphany sometime in March of 2012, but I forgot to write it down. Now I write down almost everything I ever think in a note on my smartphone. I wish I were joking. This year has been a great one. I published my first book, Comedy of Doom
, started the Obsessed
podcast, and I've been doing some writing and performing for the radio show Wits.
I also performed on two different boats: Once in the middle of the Caribbean for JoCoCruiseCrazy and once on the Centennial Showboat with Four Humors. This is a personal boat record for me.
Joshua: I throw up if I even look at a boat so I'm happy to let Joe handle all water related comedy. As far as land-based comedy goes though, I did two shows this year that I'm particularly proud of; To Mars with Tesla, a silent pseudo-historical science fiction comedy co- created with my wife, Adrienne English; and The Gentlemen's Pratfall Club, a sadomasochistic riff on the rigors of physical comedy co-created with my Comedy Suitcase pal Levi Weinhagen. These shows taught me a lot about how to take indulgent, possibly esoteric concepts and construct them so that they are accessible to a broader audience without losing their gratuitious appeal.
CP: Any resolutions for 2013?
Joshua: I'm going to continue my indulgent streak and finally write my Marx Brothers inspired screwball comedy version of The Trial, affectionately titled The Kafka Nuts.
Joseph: My resolutions are to come to terms with my annoyance over the word "skits," to perform on a minimum of three different boats, and to try to remember things without writing them down. I had a fourth, but I didn't write it down.
IF YOU GO
Baby New Year's Time Traveling Diaper Party #2
5 and 7 p.m. Dec. 31
The Year in Denial: The Scrimshaw Brothers' New Year's Eve Comedy Extravaganza!
9 and 11 p.m. Dec. 31
Bryant Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St., Minneapolis
For tickets and information, call 612.825.8949 or visit online.