5 must-see shows this week at 10,000 Laughs Festival

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It’s time to quit with the cute little adjectives when describing the 10,000 Laughs Festival. It’s not little, scrappy, or just plain local. It’s a comedy juggernaut.

10,000 Laughs Comedy Festival

Sisyphus Brewing
Tickets range from free to $15

Now in its seventh year, the comedian-run 10,000 Laughs Festival has exploded in size, talent, and creativity. With 13 shows spanning six venues featuring 60 comedians, this week’s fest can hold its own with any comedy gathering in the country. While there is still plenty of local flavor, with favorites like Shelly Paul, Ryan Kahl, and Rana May anchoring the lineups, this year’s festival also features national headliners including Beth Stelling, Dan St. Germain, and Shane Torres.

While every show is nearly guaranteed to be worth the price of admission, the thing that makes 10,000 Laughs so great is the creative mix of evenings that festival head Bob Edwards and crew assemble each year. Here are some of the must-see shows for this year's celebration.

The Dirty Show
10:15 p.m. Friday, Comedy Corner Underground

The Dirty Show isn’t fucking around. It’s 90 minutes of hilarious filth, featuring a mix of local dirtbags and out-of-town monsters. This is a festival favorite each year, and like a boxing crowd full of bloodlust, the audience craves the worst (best) the comics have to offer. They never disappoint.

Entertaining Julia

10:15 p.m. Friday, Strike Theater

New for 2017, Entertaining Julia is described as “a variety show bringing together music, characters, drag, merriment, booze, standup jokes, sit-down jokes, tomfoolery, silly billies, and the nation’s best comics.” That’s a mouthful, but a pretty accurate one. Festival vets the Puterbaugh Sisters and headliner Beth Stelling will produce and host the show, which in other iterations has featured some of the biggest names in comedy. The festival edition will be no slouch, with comics from Portland to North Carolina bringing a unique mix of comedy and unpredictability.

Sober/Not Sober

Midnight Saturday, Comedy Corner Underground

This has the makings of a beautiful and hilarious shit-show. Six comedians (including festival headliner Shane Torres) will perform their sets completely sober. Then they’ll leave, get all kinds of messed up, and come back and perform again. Why would you want to watch comedians try to perform while fucked up? Best case scenario: It’s hilarious and unique and no one will ever see it again. Worst case: Who doesn’t love a comedy car crash?

Fresh Hell

2 p.m. Saturday, James Ballentine "Uptown" VFW Post 246

Want to indulge in the festival but still be in bed at a reasonable time on a Saturday? Say no more! Fresh Hell is the only daytime show of the festival, held at the very punk-rock time of 2 p.m. The showcase combines comedy, booze, and bingo, an insanely stacked lineup of comedians performing in the harsh truth of the daytime. And it’s free!

Vaudeville Remix

8:30 p.m. Saturday, Brave New Workshop

Another new addition for this year’s festival is local comedian David Harris’ Vaudeville Remix. Harris hosts an fun, weird, and funny variety show with standup, music, and even a yo-yo artist taking the stage. It’s definitely the most eclectic show of the weekend -- it's also one of the most consistently entertaining in the Twin Cities as a regular feature at Brave New Workshop -- and promises to be a standout among an already explosive festival lineup.

The 10,000 Laughs Festival takes place October 19-21. Visit 10000laughs.com for details and tickets.


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