[Portland's funniest funny guy IAN KARMEL has graciously agreed to allow Blogtown a peek into the life of a touring comedian with this new series, "Comedy Tour Diaries." Travel along with Ian as he brings laffs to some lucky people in Philly, Minneapolis, Austin and more!—eds.]
I'm in Minneapolis. Its my longest trip on this entire fantastic voyage (ain't no bloodin', ain't no crippin') and I'm here from Tuesday through Sunday. It's a long fucking time to be visiting Minneapolis. It's a beautiful city, it'd be a great place to live, but you run out of shit to do pretty quick, so I'm not going to be doing my standard kind of thing. I'm just going to talk some shit.
Tuesday, April 9th: Today I ate a sandwich that will be that basis of all future religions.
Much much more after the jump!
But first... WHY AM I HERE: I'm in Minneapolis to perform at the Acme Comedy Club, which, I was surprised to find out, is not a comedy club strapped to the back of a cartoon coyote. There are a few comedy clubs around the country that have sterling reputations, this is one of them (also Cap City in Austin, the Helium clubs, Comedy Works in Denver, a few others.) There's a ton of shit that goes into making a good comedy club—low ceilings, good sound system, dark rooms with well-lit stages, affordable deliciousness—but these are all things that a lot of terrible clubs have, too. I think the most important thing is a staff who still give a fuck about what's happening on stage. If you're a comedian, you're on-stage so the club can sell cranberry vodka and nachos. Some places only care about the vodka and the nachos, the really good clubs have people in place who actually enjoy comedy, people who want to help cultivate the local scene so not only is the headliner good, but also the middle and opening acts. Don't get me wrong, Helium wants you to buy nachos just like Harveys does, but Helium took an extra minute to give a fuck, and it makes all the difference.
OH YEAH, SO HOWS IS GOING THOUGH?: The week is a little weird, I'm working with two different headliners. For Tuesday and Wednesday, it's a guy named Tim Bedore. He's funny, but he serves a different master than me. Maybe it's just because I'm a younger comic, but I feel a deep need to make the audience laugh as hard they can. I try to pull it out of them, I yell, I switch from clean to dirty, or dirty to clean depending on their aesthetic—it's still me, but some crowds want to hear the word “fuck” more than others. Tim is funny, but he's funny in a fairly laid-back, NPR sort of way. I'm not making any sort of value judgment, he could very well be on to some kind of Jedi shit and there's probably something to be learned from him. The crowds for his two shows are fairly sparse—it's not Tim's fault, on Tuesday there's a tornado warning, Wednesday is one of the most beautiful days I've ever seen. It's hard to get people to come out when it's 75 degrees and there exist patios upon which there exists beer.
The rest of the week goes waaaaaaaaaaay better attendance-wise. The headliner is Baron Vaughn. Dude bought me a ticket to The Avengers. Let us celebrate him by preserving his likeness with the sacred artform of stained glass.
IS THERE ANYTHING INTERESTING ABOUT MINNEAPOLIS? LIKE, DO THEY HAVE AN IMPORTANT STORE OR DID THEY INVENT SOME KIND OF FOOD OR WHATEVER? NO, I'M STILL LISTENING, I JUST NEED TO RETURN THIS TEXT.: I probably had the least amount of fun walking around Minneapolis, which isn't entirely fair, since the other two cities were Austin and Philly. Minneapolis seems like a nice place to live, but there isn't really a whole lot to be accomplished by visiting there. We went to the Mall of America, which wasn't that mind-blowing. There's an amusement park and aquarium inside, but that doesn't make a mall awesome. That's like gluing a camera to your phone. DAWG THAT AIN'T A CAMERA PHONE, THATS JUST A PHONE WITH A CAMERA GLUED TO IT, BUDGET LIKE A MUHFUCK. I guess what I expected was shit I couldn't find in any other kind of mall, but instead it was just more of what you see in regular malls. There was a Champs Sports, a Lidz, a Lidz that specialized in clothing and a Champs Sports that specialized in hats. A Lidz that specializes in clothing IS a Champs Sports. You know what makes the Mall of America so big? Redundancy. There is nothing more boring than redundancy is the most boring thing in the world full of things that are boring and the top of that list is redundancy which is so boring.
I did eat something called The Juicy Lucy while I was in Minneapolis. The Juicy Lucy is a cheeseburger with the cheese INSIDE the patty. It was cool because I didn't know my subconscious could will a food into existing, and yet there it was. It's fucking delicious. Was it more delicious than the cheesesteaks I had in Philly or the BBQ I had in Texas? Tune into my next entry where I wrap this shit up and put a bow on it.
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