Humor

Fargo Audiences Come to Papa

by John Showalter | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | February 27th, 2019

Tom Papa

Stand-up comedy is traditionally a one-way exchange. Outside of the odd question addressed to a random audience member, the limit of the spectators’ contribution to the conversation is their laughter at the comedy stylings being broadcast in their direction. A talented comedian, however, can seem conversational even within the traditional confines of the stand-up genre.

Take Tom Papa, for example. With an impish grin on his face and a mischievous lilt in his voice, Papa regales…

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​Taking the Edge off with Maria Bamford

by John Showalter | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | February 20th, 2019

Maria Bamford - photograph by Robyn Von Swank

The first exposure I had to Maria Bamford’s work was on Adult Swim’s comedy sketch show “Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show Great Job”. She was informing the audience about how to properly remove cat hair from their clothes with a lint roller before collapsing into an emotional breakdown about her feelings of inadequacy. 

“It turns out I’m very skilled at fake emotional breakdowns,” Bamford said. She has a timid voice, is high-strung, yet bubbling with kindness.

In a career…

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Pepitone Peps Up The Cellar

by John Showalter | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | October 17th, 2018

Those who have been reading my articles for a while may remember when I interviewed Zachary Tooker about the Level Two Comedy Club at the Radisson in Fargo. While the club may have unfortunately closed, Tooker has not ceased booking comedic talent for the city of Fargo. His latest contribution is bringing a personal favorite comedian of his to the Cellar at Front Street Taproom, Eddie Pepitone.

Pepitone is not only one of Tooker’s personal favorites, but a “cult favorite” as…

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California calls to Quesnell

by John Showalter | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | September 5th, 2018

Adam Quesnell photograph by CC Photo Arts

In the approximately three years I’ve been writing for the High Plains Reader it seems I’ve always circled back to comedian Adam Quesnell. First, I wrote about his farewell show before he set out from Fargo and the comedy scene that he had a hand in creating to Minneapolis. Later on, I wrote about his live recording of his second album, “Despair II: Social Justice Warlord”. And now, I find myself writing about him again as he prepares for an upcoming show at the Cellar in the…

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​A Cool Forty Below in Fargo’s Comedy Scene

by John Showalter | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | August 29th, 2018

Nathan Fulsebakke - photograph by Jenny Lou Russi

Not only does the Fargo-Moorhead area have a vibrant music scene, but a burgeoning comedy scene as well. I have had the pleasure of providing coverage for some exciting moments in the Fargo comedy world in the last few years and made some new friends along the way. One of the longer running developments in the Fargo comedy scene is the so-called “Forty Below Comedy Show,” recently I had the privilege of interviewing three of the people involved: Nathan Fulsebakke, Joe…

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Lyon up for comedy at the Aquarium

by John Showalter | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | January 31st, 2018

Grant LyonFargo has its share of people who are passionate about stand-up comedy, even if the success of clubs devoted to it has been mixed. Despite the fact we have seen places like Courtney’s Comedy Club and Level 2 Comedy Club close their doors, our comedy scene keeps going. And that, among other reasons, is why people like LA-based comedian Grant Lyon keep returning to our frozen little corner of the U.S.

“I like Fargo,” said Lyon, who will be headlining a show at the Aquarium. “It’s…

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​Talking to strangers

by Sabrina Hornung | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | April 12th, 2017

“I don’t have a tour, like, on the back of a sweatshirt,” comedian Paula Poundstone says. “I go out every weekend. This weekend I went out Friday, Saturday and Monday. Mostly it’s Friday/Saturday or Thursday through Friday and Saturday and it goes for a lifetime. It’s not just for a month. It’s an ongoing tour.”

The routine may be tedious for some but for Poundstone it’s well worth the hustle and bustle. “It’s healing, both for me and for the audience. I think you…

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What is acceptable comedy?

by HPR Contributor | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | November 23rd, 2016

By Bill Lucas

You may wonder about the title. Whenever we hear someone’s opinion I think it is important to know a little about them. We all are offended by many things that are due to our experiences in life. We may be able to sympathize with others, but we cannot empathize with them if we have not walked in their shoes.

Comedy from one person or group towards another is found funny by some and not others. There was a time when Lenny Bruce was vilified because his comedy was filled…

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​The stranger the better

by HPR Contributor | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | November 16th, 2016

By Ben Haugmo

benhaugmo@yahoo.com

The Spot Panini and Wine in Fergus Falls will be hosting Aimee Klein and her sketch comedy troupe for a night of outrageous laughs and zany fun this coming Saturday.

The driving force that made the show a reality are the characters Klein has invented. The personalities occupying her thoughts have over time become voices that demand to be heard on stage.

“As far as creating the sketch comedy show,” said Klein, “I guess you could say that the characters…

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​The LineBenders: 15th Anniversary Show

by John Showalter | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | November 2nd, 2016

I’m going to admit something. I’m a transplant in Fargo, North Dakota, originally from Iowa. I didn’t really know what to expect when I moved here.

Something that continues to surprise me about this city that most people only know from Coen Brothers movies is how much of a burgeoning comedy scene we have here. And perhaps the oldest members of that comedic community are the improvisational comedy troupe LineBenders.

At the very least they are the longest-running professional…

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