Raised in Detroit Lakes, the eight-year standup veteran had a false start in Los Angeles before returning to the Twin Cities and making comedy his full-time career.
Determined to put out his first solo comedy album before he becomes a father next year, he signed with Stand Up! Records, and will record the still-unnamed album at the Saturday and Sunday shows of his run at Bronson’s House of Comedy.
How does the comedy scene in Los Angeles compare to the Twin Cities? Why did you decide to come back?
I’ve wanted to be a comic as long as I can remember. I was one of those people who went, “I’m clearly charismatic. I’ll just go to L.A. and be really famous,” never having done standup before. Then I went to L.A., and was significantly overwhelmed. I pretty much decided to do drugs for a few a years, and put my life in dire straights. I cleaned up, and came home to find out that the scene that I left is considered a top five national comedy scene.
Oh, yeah. That’s one of the biggest crimes in this town. We’re nationally renowned for comedy in the industry, yet so few people here know that. When you go on the road, Minneapolis comics are known for being edgy. The Minneapolis scene is the best scene that you could start in. We have smart audiences, and you can do at least one show per night for real audiences. If you start in Los Angeles or Chicago or New York, you’re doing shows for 12 other comedians.
You’re also a founding member of the comedic super group The Turkeys. What do you like about the group dynamic versus going solo?
Oh, man. It’s so much more fun. [In solo comedy] you’re sitting there stewing in your own head and having a miserable time, thinking about how much people are going to hate you. When you’re doing comedy as a group, you’re competing together or failing together or drinking together afterward. It’s a team thing.
Have you ever considered adding a female comedian to the group?
Absolutely. But we’ve only thought about it. We’re not going to. We work with a lot of women. We’re really stupid to be around. We’re negative and hate ourselves. We’re the guys talking shit in the back of the room. We’ve become a nice little toxic group. No woman would want to be a part of the group. I know my wife has no interest in it.
Do you have haters?
Sure. I can be loud and obnoxious. If I don’t have haters, I’m doing something wrong. I think I have lovers, too. I don’t mind pissing some people off. It’s fun to provoke. That’s why you get into comedy. As George Carlin said, “If you’re not finding the line and going to it, what are you doing?” You’re just jacking off. I’m not a laugh monkey. I’m trying to talk about stuff.
What will you be talking about in your upcoming shows at Bronson’s?
This is the hardest question. I talk about my own struggles, my own life. I talk about how cruel and unfair my wife is. I talk about my past with drug addiction. I talk about some social stuff.
How old are you?
Thirty-six. And I’ve put hard miles on this sucker. I probably look 41. I’d be so good-looking if I could relax a little bit.
You won’t be able to do that with a baby!
That’s a big part of recording this album. The baby is what really pushed me forward, because I know my life is going to change so much and I want to talk about that but there’s all this material I’m proud of that I’ve worked on. I’m very writerly and I like nuance. I’m a big storyteller. You want to get those locked in while they still mean something to you ‘cause they’re not going to be pretty soon. You’re going to be a different guy.
IF YOU GO:
Rick Bronson’s House of Comedy
7:30 p.m. Wednesday; 7 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday; 7 p.m. Sunday
18+; 21+ later shows
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