Quick Q+A: 10,000 Laughs Festival + Ryan

ryan kahl

Back and bigger than ever, the 10,000 Laughs festival again gives the burgeoning MPLS + STPL comedy scene the weekend-long fest that local funny people and their fans deserve. Each night has killer showcases chock full of comics, both local and national, with a bunch of different themes from a Vaudeville reinvention to a boozy Sober/Not Sober event to Seriously, We’re Joking and much, much more. Grab tickets to the whole thing or just the lineups/times/locations you’re interested in, and do it fast—some of the venues aren’t all that big and will be as full of comics as people looking for laughs.

Before the massive multi-venue festival gets underway, we checked in with a producer—and also performer!—for the event, Ryan Kahl, for a Quick Q+A.   

Secrets of the City: What’s the process for selecting the comedians for the 10,000 Laughs Festival? There’s so many who will perform, but there’s also a lot of talent here, plus you’ve got national comedians in the lineup. Do you have to be a little cut throat? How many of the 10,000 Laughs minimum does each comic need to cover?

Ryan Kahl: Well, it certainly was a process! We have 5 producers for this years festival, and every producer watched and graded about 60 tapes. Once we had narrowed it down to the top 50 comics we all got together and rewatched those 50 tapes and started picking who would make the final cut. It was really tough. We had a ton of super talented people apply this year—and that’s definitely a good problem to have. It means that we are growing as a festival and that’s exciting! But it’s also a bummer because a lot of great comics didn’t make the cut this year.

We are hoping that every performer on the festival will cover around 207 and a half laughs so that we aren’t liable to be sued for false advertising.

Aside from the comedy, we’re most excited about the range of venues for this year’s fest, there’s everything from the regular Comedy Corner Underground and Sisyphus tap room to the brand new Strike Theater to the Uptown VFW and Eagles Club and more. Why so many venues? Are you running a party bus to the shows from the hotels for out-of-towners?

Personally, I think it’s really cool that we get the opportunity to run shows at so many different venues. I love Comedy Corner Underground and Sisyphus because they are small intimate rooms that were made for doing comedy. But it’s also very cool to be able to perform in rooms that aren’t necessarily comedy spaces like Eagles Club or the Uptown VFW. It’s a completely different vibe onstage. Those rooms are bigger, and you kind of get to feel like a rockstar. I had the opportunity to go with one of our other producers and check out all of the venues last week and they’re all really cool and unique places. I think that performers and attendees will be impressed with every single one of our venues this year.

And although a party bus was not in our budget this year, we were able to secure a party van (we got a van and spray painted PARTY on the side of it).

How is the Sober/Not Sober showcase, where comics are under the influence of drugs and alcohol, any different than every single of night of comedy?

Sober/Not Sober is a really interesting premise for a show. At most comedy shows, you can bet that the performers won’t be completely sober and you might just be right. But with Sober/Not Sober you get to see comics do one set completely sober, and then they come back onstage with more drugs/alcohol in their system than a young (or old) Keith Richards.

How dirty is the dirty show? Like profanity dirty or roman candles shooting out of butt holes dirty?

You might want to bring a change of clothes if you plan on attending this one. I’m only half kidding. It’s gonna be dirty. Real dirty. I’m talking dirt under your fingernails dirty. Bring some hand sanitizer. We’re breaking the sinks in the bathrooms to insure the dirtiest show possible for this one.

At what point did the Festival rope in Beth Stelling and her friends for Oct 20th? (It’s also sort of crazy that the Entertaining Julia variety show with Puterbaugh Sisters and Stelling still has advance tickets!)

We really lucked out in getting Beth this year. I think that her contract was signed early this summer. She’s incredibly funny. If you haven’t seen her set on Netflix’s The Standups yet, I can’t recommend it enough. And it is truly INSANE that Entertaining Julia isn’t sold out yet. The Puterbaugh Sisters are also incredibly talented and I can’t wait to see what they bring to the festival. That’s definitely one of our can’t miss shows.

Where’s the cool after party that all the comedians will be hanging out at after the fest or will everyone just be too tired and have to go back to work?

What good comedy festival doesn’t have cool after parties? We’ve got a spot to hang out at after the shows every night of the festival! On Thursday you can find us at Moto-i or the Uptown VFW, on Friday and Saturday you can catch us at Comedy Corner Underground. One request though: don’t be weird. Unless it’s a good weird.

The 10,000 Laughs Comedy Festival runs October 19th-21st throughout MPLS + STPL. Tickets to each show available on their website.


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