MINNEAPOLIS -- A new book is coming out this week that takes a look at the heyday of stand-up comedy in Minnesota.

Patrick Strait is the author of "Funny Thing About Minnesota: The Rise, Fall, and Rebirth of the Twin Cities Comedy Scene".

He says a handful of very funny people including Louie Anderson, Scott Hansen, and Jeff Gerbino started it all in the late 1970s in Minneapolis.

At that point, there really wasn't a stand-up comedy scene.  People had maybe seen some stand-up on Johnny Carson or Bob Hope, but there really weren't comedy clubs or bars that were doing regular stand-up comedy shows, so seeing a stand-up comedy was really rare.

They started telling their jokes at a Minneapolis dive bar called Mickey Finn's before people know what a comedy club was.

It wasn't a comedy club, it was a bar, a union bar, and these guys were out there trying to fight for attention.  There were union guys who just had a long day, they just wanted to drink and relax and chat, they didn't want a bunch of 20 something guys making jokes at them.

Strait says stand-up comedy in Minnesota stayed very hot through the 1980s and early 1990s, and then most of the big comics started moving to New York or Los Angeles to pursue acting careers.

Strait says the comedy scene also eventually was fractured by bloated egos and an influx of money and drugs.

During the 1980s and early 1990s, the comedy market also became so saturated with TV shows and specials that going to a comedy club wasn't so special anymore either.

He says a second wave, led by the Acme Comedy Club, is helping to bring back stand-up comedy to Minnesota.

Strait is hosting a virtual book launch this Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. via Facebook and YouTube. His special guests include Anderson, Hansen, Gerbino, and Lizz Winstead.

MN Reads is a monthly feature on the News @ Noon Show on WJON where we feature new books about Minnesota or authors from Minnesota.

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