When festival organizer Bob Edwards and his team sat down to begin planning this year’s 10,000 Laughs Festival, they decided to bring in major talent from all over the country to headline the festivities. One of those names: Beth Stelling.
If you aren’t familiar, Stelling is an insanely good comedian based in LA, and just released a new 30 minute special on Netflix, The Standups. She’s been on Conan, Jimmy Kimmel Live, and Last Call with Carson Daly, and is a writer for the HBO series Crashing.
This week, she’s appearing at three shows on the festival’s lineup, including the stacked schedule on Friday (Beth Stelling & Friends at the Eagles Club) and the first-time-at-the-festival variety show, Entertaining Julia. She’ll also be headlining the Best of the Fest Saturday night at Sisyphus, which means you have no excuse to miss her this weekend.
Before she arrives in Minneapolis, we managed to snag a few minutes of her time.
When you decide to perform at a festival, what kinds of things do you look for?
Any red flags that it's about to be the Fyre Festival.
Tell me about Entertaining Julia. How does that show compare to a traditional standup show? Whose idea was it to bring it in as part of the 10K Laughs Fest?
I think Bob [Edwards, festival organizer] wanted Tiffany, Danielle (the Puterbaugh Sisters), and I to bring Entertaining Julia to 10K Laughs. It is a show we hosted and ran together in Chicago many years ago in a dive bar in Boystown Chicago. We never really promoted it but people always showed up. The only times there wasn't a crowd, we'd look at our Nokia phones and realize it was Christmas or Easter.
EJ has always been a mix of standup, us catching up onstage in front of an audience, music, sometimes puppets -- if we're unlucky -- and drag. Since it's a festival and we're in a town we aren't usually in, without the local acts we usually pull from, it will make it a surprise for all of us. Which I think sounds promising.
Your Netflix special The Standups was so good! Are you working on anything new?
Thank you very much! I am working on a new special now so I'm in the process of writing that and performing the new material to test it. I'm patient in my career but I've found myself impatient with my new material. I want it to work right away. A few weeks ago in Toronto I did an entirely new hour that wasn't exactly ready. Since then I've learned my lesson. I've had to play the hits and slip in the new until it's strong enough to stand on its own. Why don't crowds love my premises without punchlines? I'll never know...
Total Minnesota pandering question: What are you most excited to do while you're here other than, you know, performing?
Find and drink good coffee, eat yummy food, maybe see something cool that I'm supposed to see while in Minneapolis -- it was way too cold to see the last time I played Acme. I'll also see my Minnesota pals Steve and Drew and Josh and Amy and Katie.
IF YOU GO:
Beth Stelling & Friends
Oct. 20, 8 p.m.
Oct. 20, 10:15 p.m.
Best of the Fest
Oct. 21, 10 p.m.