Where to See Edgy Improv Comedy in the Twin Cities

Improv is really exploding in popularity. There’s no question about it based on the number of articles online extolling its benefits—from helping fight anxiety to increasing confidence to building listening skills and trust. Here in the Twin Cities, we’re lucky to have no fewer than four well-respected theaters that teach the art. Classes fill quickly, and out of those classes come a number of people itching to put what they’ve learned to use on stage.

However, with a limited number of established venues in which to perform, improvisers around the Cities have been working hard to create new spaces for performance, often in non-traditional locations like pubs, breweries and restaurants. It’s great for the audience to experience something new and the business owners attract a whole new clientele, plus they often charge little or nothing for tickets. It’s a win-win for everyone.

Here are my recommendations for places to see improv off the beaten path:

Monsters of Improv has been a regular outlet for groups. Almost three years old, this show has been giving numerous groups a place to do improvised theater once a month at Honey in Minneapolis. Unfortunately the show will be saying good-bye in June, but it has been a launching point for a number of groups.

Seemingly ready to pick up the slack as Monsters departs, Brewprov recently launched a new show at LynLake Brewery in Uptown. With a mix of different improv groups and standup comics every time, it’s a chance for audiences to check out all sorts of local talent for free. Their first show was packed, so make sure to get there early for a good seat!

Jesters Comedy Improv takes over Ol’ Mexico Restaurante in Roseville every Saturday night. They’re a repeating group of performers playing improv games like you’ve seen on the TV show, “Whose Line is it Anyway?”

Getting away from the metro area a bit, are a clean, family-friendly troupe playing regularly at The Holiday Inn in Elk River.

It’s impossible to list all the shows, but MaGillycuddy’s in Anoka, Du Nord in Minneapolis and Broadway Pizza in Minneapolis are among other venues that groups have tested to see if they’ll work as venues.

One of the downsides of there being such a broad base of performers in the Cities is keeping track of it all. There’s no central database, but the Twin Cities Comedy Events group on Facebook is a good spot to start a search for an evening of a different kind of entertainment. There’s probably a show closer than you think.

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This article was made possible in part with support from the Howard B. & Ruth F. Brin Jewish Arts Endowment, a fund of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation’s Foundation, and Rimon: The Minnesota Jewish Arts Council, an initiative of the Minneapolis Jewish Federation.

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