Standup benefit for Brandon Reynoso boasts great lineup
Brandon Reynoso (right) hangs with a friend after the incident
"Whenever a Minneapolis comic gets thrown down some stairs and breaks their arm, I always make time to do a benefit show for them," says local comedian Tommy Ryman. "This is the third show I'm doing, so I think there might be a problem."
Ryman, best known nationally for his recent appearances on Last Comic Standing, is just one of the many high-profile local comics in this weekend's benefit show for comedian Brandon Reynoso. In July, Reynoso was assaulted on his 30th birthday by a fellow comic who had blacked out after a long night of drinking. The altercation landed Reynoso at the bottom of a flight of stairs, with two shattered bones in his wrist and around $20,000 in medical bills.
"I can already see a lot of puns. I've been doing standup for years but I finally got my 'big break,'" Reynoso jokes.
The shows, which run at the Comedy Corner Underground the next two weekends, will showcase several well-known local comedians, including Ian Rans from Drinking with Ian and City Pages writer and comedian Bryan Miller.
Reynoso has already raised $2,500 dollars through donations from local comedians, but he says that money is mainly to help him pay his regular bills, like rent, since he won't be able to bartend for another three to five months. And since he has no health insurance to pay off the staggering medical bills, he's taking any help he can get.
"That's just survival money, really," he says. "I'm getting married next June. My fiancé was diagnosed with MS this year. So, we were kind of in dire straits already."
Reynoso's close friend and fellow comedian Bob Edwards helped put the show together. He's not surprised that the comedy community came together so quickly to help out. Just last year, local comedian Kate Urquhart was diagnosed with cervical cancer. When the cancer progressed to her liver and Urquhart passed away, folks put on a benefit show to help Urquhart's partner pay for outstanding medical bills and funeral expenses.
"Standup is a very different kind of art form," Edwards says. "When you're a standup, all the way up until you're headlining A-list clubs, you're still usually doing the mic circuit. So you're going to see these guys that are doing the same thing as you four, five, six times a week." According to him, there are few standup scenes that are comparable to Minneapolis when it comes to cohesiveness. Some of these comics see other comedians more than they see their own family, he adds.
Reynoso says he's currently in litigation over the ordeal, so he can't say much about what happened, but he's itching to get back to doing standup now that he's off his pain medication.
Reynoso started his standup career with Edwards in Omaha, Nebraska, around 2005. They then moved to Minneapolis around 2008 specifically for the strong comedy scene here.
Since then, Reynoso has been a regular fixture on the Minneapolis circuit. Regardless, he says he's amazed by the amount of help he's been receiving from his fellow comedians. "I don't know how I'll ever be able to repay them, and it really means a lot to me," he says. "It definitely gave me a new faith in the community."
To see the full line up, check out the Facebook event page.
IF YOU GO:
A benefit showcase for Brandon Reynoso
8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, August 22-23 and August 29-30
Tickets are $10 at 612-492-1197 or online.
Comedy Corner Underground
1501 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis
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