I’m excited that my fortieth Friday recommendation is for the third-annual Twin Cities Improv Festial on Thursday, June 25 – Sunday, June 28 at the Brave New Workshop (2605 Hennepin Ave. South, Minneapolis, MN).
Whether you’re already a fan of improv or you haven’t ever seen any live, this is the festival for you. Many of the most-reputable ensembles and performers from the Twin Cities are pairing up with amazing out-of-town guest performers to present thirteen shows of high-quality comedy. Each show features one local act and one national act to ensure the audience sees something they know and enjoy as well as a new treat. And at only ten bucks per show plus multi-show discount passes, it’s one of the more affordable improv festivals out there.
So who’s up this year? Plenty. There’s a slew of ensembles (Adorable, Batterymouth, Bearded Men, Beatbox, The Cosby Sweaters, Darby Lane, Dirty Water, Fingergun, Five Man Job, Girls Girls Girls, HUGE, Improvabilities, Splendid Things, Tarantino), several duos (After the Party, Ferrari McSpeedy, Iron Cobra, Jokyr & Jesster, Muse, Mustache Rangers, Rampleseed, Sanke and Bunny), solo acts (Lounge-A-Saurus Rex, Drum Machine), and the three main improv theaters in the Twin Cities are represented, too (Brave New Workshop, ComedySportz, and Stevie Ray’s). You can check out the TCIF website for full information on all of the acts, too.
I’ve seen most of the local acts and many of the out-of-town acts thanks to my own national improv festival appearances. Many local improv fans have their own local favorites already, so if I were to make specific recommendations of out-of-town acts I enjoy, I’d say Bearded Men and Dirty Water know how to have tremendous fun while they’re onstage and it’s infectious for their audiences. Beatbox is something unique to see and takes improv to a new place with its hip-hop and DJ-style editing and scenework techniques. In terms of flat-out-funny, go see Jokyr and Jesster. I’ve had the pleasure of knowing Joe and Jesse for several years, taking classes together in Chicago and performing together as an ensemble at the Miami Improv Festival, these guys are great teachers, amazing performers, and the kind of guys you want to hang out with at the party after the show.
I plan to be in and out all weekend, mixing up my festival attendance with other outside obligations. I hope to see you there!