Brave New Workshop Gets Back to Standup Roots

For years, the Brave New Workshop has been responsible for churning out some of the greatest comedians and productions, thanks to their dedication to nurturing funny ideas, regardless of whether they fit within the group's "usual" offerings. 

That's why it should be no surprise that this week the theater will launch the Promiscuous Hostility Standup Showcase inside the Experimental Thinking Centre (ETC) Event Space in downtown Minneapolis. 

"Back when we were in the old ETC, our standup night was very much an anything-goes atmosphere," says Earl Mollerud, Brave New Workshop president. "We want to get back to that feeling, and provide a very different setup and structure than anything else we do at our theater."

With a history dating back to 1958, Brave New Workshop has had a hand in guiding the careers of some of the biggest Minnesota-bred comedians, including Louie Anderson and Al Franken. This week, the next generation of talented Twin Cities performers will follow in their footsteps, with a stacked lineup including headliner Chris Maddock along with Courtney McClean, Marial Elizabeth, Turner Barrowman, Shannan Paul, event organizer Andy Wegleitner, and emcee Mike Lester. 

"Standup comedy is part of our history," says Mollerud. "This event is really Andy [Wegleitner]'s brainchild, and is the perfect fit for what we want to accomplish with the ETC."

While Mollerud sees the monthly standup showcase as a pillar of the Experimental Thinking Center, he doesn't plan to limit the space to simply traditional forms of comedy.

Last month, the Danger Committee brought their knife-wielding stunt show to the ETC, and Mollerud says he has plans for music, improv, and other genres of performance that will take the stage in the coming months. 

As for this week's showcase, which was personally curated by Wegleitner, the idea was to highlight comedians with a wide range of comedy stylings and personalities, as a nod to the breadth of talent that will ultimately be included in the Promiscuous Hostility Showcase. 

"The comedy community in Minnesota is so close-knit, but everyone has their own style," says Wegleitner. "This show is going to have a very different format than other showcases in town, and I thought it made sense to have a really diverse group of comedians to celebrate that."

Moving forward, the Theatre plans to potentially add national headliners to its standup lineup, and if history is any indication, it should have no issue attracting top talent. 

"We have a very proud history in Minnesota, and I think that this new showcase is going to continue that tradition," says Mollerud. 

Promiscuous Hostility Standup Showcase
Thursday, January 22
Brave New Workshop
8 p.m., $5 at the door