Valley Meadows Takes Over the Twin Cities (Comedy) Rap Scene

In a town where the hip-hop scene is so incredible, there can only be one (or two) true kingpins. Those two dudes are Valley Meadows.

Wait! Pull back, angry hip-hop-loving commenter! We meant comedy rap. 

"By the time you're done saying 'comedy rap' most people have already turned their backs," says Gary "Mr. S" Schishynszenski (also known as comedian Chris Knutson). "We really like that challenge."

Knutson, along with his partner Zach Coulter -- a.k.a. MC Tom Johnson -- will be performing at tonight's opening of the 10,000 Laughs Comedy Festival alongside the Monday Night Comedy Show.

Before they unleash their sick flow all over Club Underground at the Spring Street Tavern, we caught up with one half of the illest comedy rap duo around to talk battling, webisodes, and Will Smith.

When did you and Zach start doing the Valley Meadows?

It was 2008.  The year of hope.  Hope is dope. 

What made you guys decide to start rapping?

Zach reached out to me before we really knew each other. The plan was to do it once at the Monday Night Comedy Show, which is where we had met just weeks before. I was slightly hesitant, being that comedy rap is often lame. Ultimately, that's why I wanted to do it: To see if we could make it without taking it to a predicable area. That, and I knew Zach had a lot of comedic integrity. That first time became many more, as we're still having fun and changing.  

How did you guys get involved with this week's 10,000 Laughs Comedy Festival?

We were in the studio one Sunday when we got a call from some guy who sounded like Richard Nixon on speed. He said he had a plot to take over the world. It turns out that the guy was Bob Edwards, and his plot started with the 10,000 Laughs Festival. We couldn't say no to performing on opening night, especially considering the Puterbaugh Sisters were sharing the stage. We've performed with them in Chicago many times, and it's always interesting. They're endlessly funny and entertaining.

You just released a brand-new Valley Meadows web series. How did that come about?

It was really the natural next step. We're comedians above all else, so writing, performing, and producing is our bread and butter. We met Joe Filipas during a Valley Meadows performance at the Old Arizona Theater. He's a local filmmaker, and we immediately hit it off. It felt like we found another member of the group.  

Any plans for more webisodes? 

We just have the three for now.  At 12 to 16 minutes apiece, it's hard to create more without dedicating a lot of time. We currently have 13 to 15 completed scripts for more episodes, so I'm sure we'll do more when we find time. If any investors are reading this, we'll give you 100 percent of the profit if you fund them. By the way, these don't make a profit.  

What about a new Valley Meadows album? When can we expect that to hit the streets?

Winterish. Stand Up! Records lets us take our time. We're working with Casey Nelson, a really great producer who we meet while all doing standup comedy. He brings a nice and funny flavor to the new stuff. One thing I can say for sure is that this album will be far stranger than the last. We have some great new characters played by some comedy friends who are also on Stand Up! Records. Tom and Gary might not appear as much on these tracks.  We're having a lot of fun making it.

The most important question: Who would you guys take on in your ultimate fantasy rap battle?

We'd need some rusty competition. So Will Smith. Ideally we'd lose but get a couple jabs in about Wild Wild West. Ideally we'd lose because he seems like he needs a win more than we do.


The Monday Night Comedy Show with Valley Meadows and the Puterbaugh Sisters
Club Underground at Spring Street Tavern
8 p.m., $5