By Jay Rice
Adam Quesnell and JD Provorse, two long-time Fargo-Moorhead comics, take the stage this Thursday through Saturday at Courtney’s Comedy Club to lend some legitimacy to our local comedy scene. This is Adam’s first full headlining gig at Courtney's and JD will be recording his first comedy CD. Let’s learn more about them.
HPR: When and how did you get your start?
Adam Quesnell: I opened for Todd Barry in 2009, showing me that I knew nothing about stand-up, but wanted more. JD introduced himself to tell me about Courtney's open mic. I had known about the mic from El Arntson for years but I didn't do it. El was like everyone's first comedy dad.
JD Provorse: My first open mic was at Courtney's on February 7, 2008. I was super nervous and tried to get out of it. I was leaving the parking lot when a friend called me to tell me he had signed me up. This guilt trip got me to stick around, making it the most important guilt trip ever in my life.
HPR: What is your type or style of comedy?
AQ: I'm just a weird, dark goofball that makes people laugh by collapsing in on himself for the amusement of drunk people.
JD: (I have) definitely more of a storytelling style. Childishly adult. Optimistically depressed. Seriously ridiculous.
HPR: How do you feel about hecklers and deal with them?
AQ: Hecklers are garbage and I usually just tell them so. Playful banter with hecklers validates their wretched existence.
JD: It's pretty much the most insulting, disrespectful thing you can do to both the performer and the rest of the audience. If you want the spotlight on you, grow a pair, go to an open mic and earn it.
HPR: Have you ever bombed? What's it like for you? Or what goes through your head?
AQ: Of course I've bombed. Louis CK bombs. What goes through my head? "Well, I'm eating it. Learn what you can and then watch that new Flash episode later."
JD: Everybody bombs. The only way to learn stand-up is to do your practicing in front of an audience. This means they're going to see you be “very not good” a lot of the time. Some of the most depressing experiences of my life are comedy bombs. Suck it up and focus on the next set.
HPR: You guys travel together often. Any great road stories?
AQ: I don't know what stories JD will tell, but we went to Montana at the end of the 2010 and it was one of the most fun, weird experiences.
JD: I have plenty of fun stories, but none that you could really print in a respectable publication like the HPR.
HPR: What is one of your favorite memories of performing comedy?
AQ: I've been to Mexico twice for the Akumal Comedy Festival with Stand Up! Records. Last year we helped raise the money to put a permanent ambulance on call in Akumal. Mexico holds the title belt in the memory fight.
JD: A benefit fundraiser show that I organized and promoted that brought together more than a dozen local performers. This raised more than $6,000 to benefit a friend and supporter of the local comedy scene. Well that, and the one and only time my father got to see me perform before he passed away.
HPR: You guys have reached some major milestones. What's next?
AQ: I released my first toy, Despair, last Halloween with Stand Up! Records and it's available at faqcomedy.bigcartel.com. Other than that, headlining Courtney's Comedy Club with JD featuring and Matt Novotny as the MC March 5-7 (courtneyscomedyclub.com or 218-287-7100 for tickets). In general, I'm writing my next album now, so that's what's up for the future.
JD: In the most positive way possible, just more of the same. More writing. More open mics. More travel. More featuring. More headlining. More festivals. More recording. More comedy.
HPR: So why should people come check you guys out this weekend?
AQ: I’m doing lots of new stuff and JD needs an audience to record for!
JD: Because it’s the only weekend we’re doing these shows!
Adam Quesnell headlines and JD Provorse records album
8 p.m. Thurs, March 5 (18+)
8 & 10:30 p.m. Fri and Sat, March 6 & 7 (21+)
Courtney’s Comedy Club, Moorheadcournteyscomedyclub.com
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