Wits: Paul F. Tompkins

The strength of the Wits series is the pairing of seemingly disparate but surprisingly complementary entertainers — goth-tinged British literary icon Neil Gaiman and Idaho-born folk rocker Josh Ritter, for an extreme example from last season. But for the latest installment, the Wits crew, led by host John Moe and musical guide John Munson, takes it the other direction by bringing in a duo who are not only perfectly matched but well acquainted. Comedian Paul F. Tompkins and pop songstress Aimee Mann are both regulars at Largo, the L.A. cabaret where musicians and standups intermingle, and which is one of the hubs of alternative comedy. Tompkins is a raconteur whose latest hour-long special, Laboring Under Delusions, was just released on Comedy Central last month, and his impressive résumé includes the sharpest shows of the era: Curb Your Enthusiasm, Community, and a regular spot on Mr. Show with Bob and David. Mann's ruminative pop songs were the soundtrack to (and significant inspiration for) Paul Thomas Anderson's Magnolia, from which Tompkins's part was cut, although he made it into There Will Be Blood. Mann also has a comic pedigree of her own, having played the nihilist girlfriend in The Big Lebowski and appeared in an episode of Portlandia. Tompkins will also be at Pepito's Parkway Theater (4814 Chicago Ave. S., Minneapolis; 612.822.3030) this Saturday. (Photo by Rebecca Sanabria)
Fri., May 11, 8 p.m., 2012

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