'Wild' Bill Bauer dead at 62

'Wild' Bill Bauer dead at 62

"Wild" Bill Bauer was a staple of the local comic scene. He was beloved and revered amongst local talent, including Scott Hansen, Louie Anderson, and Alex Cole. He died Thursday, August 30 in his sleep at his home in Inver Grove Heights. He was 62.

Bauer, a former paramedic, started doing comedy shortly after time spent serving in Vietnam. He was a trailblazer on the Minnesota standup scene, paving the way for Minnesota comics back in the 1970s. His current gigs included running New Hope's Big Laughs Comedy Club and performing the occasional solo show.

"My dad @TaoOfPooka died last night. He'd stated that he was either to be partially cremated or taxidermied. He was awesome and I love him," tweeted Bauer's son, Patrick, who is also a comedian. 

Bryan Miller,
City Pages proofreader and standup comic, recounts Bill's colorful career via email:

"He was one of the original crew who founded the Minneapolis comedy scene doing shows at Mickey Finn's, the first bar where standup was performed in town (the other guys were Louis Anderson, Alex Cole, and Scott Hansen). He continued to be a Twin Cities favorite and performed across the country throughout the comedy-club boom of the '80s.

The business slowed down in the '90s and a lot of people got out, but Bill never stopped touring. In addition to doing standup, he made a couple of cameos on the TV shows Roseanne and The Jackie Thomas Show.

In later years he continued performing, but also put together and booked a lot of shows (he was currently booking shows at Running Aces and the weekly Big Laughs series at the New Hope Cinema Grill).

One of the things he was best known for was discovering new talent. Moreso than almost any other booker, he encouraged new comics and helped them get stage time. (At least 10 or 15 people on Facebook yesterday said Bill gave them their first comedy job; he gave me mine, too.) His son Patrick Bauer is carrying on the family tradition (Pat's mother was also a comic) and continues to do standup in the Twin Cities and throughout the Midwest."

He is survived by his son and wife, Cheryl.

Bauer's infamous bit on Uncle Arnie, the number two ranked Russian roulette player in the country:

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