5 Minnesota comedians to watch in 2016

Drew Janda

Drew Janda performs at Flappers in Burbank, California, in 2013

As the self-proclaimed “King of Alt Comedy,” Drew Janda is possibly the biggest social media celebrity in the Twin Cities. He has nearly 6,000 Twitter followers, his tweets are constantly being picked up by Internet personalities and well-known comedy websites, and he has written and performed a number of sketches that have received significant buzz online.

drewjanda

Drew Janda

After getting his start in comedy in Chicago as a student improviser with the iconic Second City, Janda moved to Los Angeles to take classes at the Groundlings, which launched the careers of comedy heavyweights like Lisa Kudrow, Pee Wee Herman, and countless Saturday Night Live alumni. After dabbling in stand-up in Hollywood, Janda ultimately ran out of money and moved to Minnesota.

“The plan was to move back to Los Angeles after a few months of working and saving money in Minnesota,” he recalls. “During that time when I was here, I did almost no stand-up. Then I met Turner Barrowman at the Monday Night Comedy Show at Spring Street Tavern, and he encouraged me to come out and get on stage more often. Ultimately, my car broke down a month before I was supposed to go back to California, which ultimately led to me staying here.”

Whether it was a coincidence or a sign from the comedy heavens, Janda soon became entrenched in the Twin Cities comedy scene, as a performer, writer, and producer. In February of last year, he was invited to become a member of the beautifully eclectic and slightly deranged Boy Kisses collective that hosts a showcase at Universe Games in Uptown Sunday nights. That gave Janda the opportunity to flex his comedy muscles in a variety of ways.

“We get together every week and write sketches and jokes for the show, and we’ve also written and produced a few online sketches, too,” he says. “I really enjoy writing and producing sketches, because seeing the finished product come together is really rewarding.”

Earlier this month, Janda was part of the second-annual East Coast New Year’s Show at Sisyphus Brewing. He regularly hosts and performs at Comedy Corner Underground, was a producer for the 10,000 Laughs Festival back in October, and hosts the wildly popular Joke Fight show at Comedy Corner Underground, all while continuing to find new ways to reinforce his supreme alt-comedy status.

“I call myself the Midwest King of Alt Comedy because no one knows what that word means, including me,” he laughs. “I’m not really sure what makes someone an alt-comedian, but I incorporate songs into my set, so I guess that qualifies.”

Where you can see him next: Boy Kisses, Sundays at 7:30pm at Universe Games.

On Twitter: @drewjanda

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