August 3, 2020
Carolyn Holbrook is a pioneering Minnesota author.
“I usually jot down a few premises and work them out on stage. I do most of my writing on stage, making notes about the set after. In quarantine, I’ve tried to treat it more like a desk job. It is definitely strange to try and write stand-up material. I find myself trying to focus on other writing projects to keep the creative juices flowing.”
Good question. I genuinely love the New Kids on the Block and find any excuse to talk about them. I think it was actually fellow comic Mary Mack that found a NKOTB novel at a thrift store and sent it my way. I found the rest of the set on eBay, almost — I am missing one. The books are so silly, which checks out as they are written for 12-year-old girls in the early ’90s. I think I was just so excited to share the ridiculousness so I started reading snippets from the books onstage. I also love to read old cookbooks, especially midwest church lady cookbooks. Reading from old cookbooks on stage and on Instagram brings me so much joy. And who doesn’t need another recipe for lutefisk or lefse?
The audience! Most of the audiences at Acme are actual comedy fans. They’ve been coming to the club for years, starting with the open mic in college, they’re regulars. They didn’t just get a babysitter for a “night on the town,” they planned a night at the comedy club to see comedy. They respect the performers and the art form and they love Prince. Good people.
I’ve known Dan since the beginning of my stand-up career. He is a huge presence in the Minneapolis comedy scene. He’s out at the little shows, the big shows, the early shows, the late shows. He knows his stuff. From my start I always had it in the back of my mind to someday record an album with Stand Up! Records. Dan planted the seeds of recording my album several years ago and once I had a set I liked we made it happen. I guess you could say I’d been working on this album for about 10 years — from that first open mic to the final edit on Sparkly Parts.
I think so. The cubicle life helped me create some good organizational habits, but more importantly made me realize that is not what I wanted to do with the rest of my life. Although working on all those presentations really fostered my deference for typefaces, so I have to thank the office for that chunk of material. I worked with some really great people in my corporate America life; those relationships are probably my biggest takeaway.
It’s hard to explain, it really is an adrenaline rush. Such a crazy high! For me it was another way to be on stage. I had a theater background but wasn’t auditioning or performing so when I tried stand-up it felt like I was back, back performing, but with total control, which is scary and exhilarating at the same time.
There is! All the Midwest people seem to find each other. It’s a niche group of comics that can share the insanity of driving around the UP of Michigan in February to tell jokes at a casino. We will always support each other and find the cheese curds.
I’m totally in the Maron camp. I usually jot down a few premises and work them out on stage. I do most of my writing on stage, making notes about the set after. In quarantine, I’ve tried to treat it more like a desk job. It is definitely strange to try and write stand-up material. I find myself trying to focus on other writing projects to keep the creative juices flowing.
Yes, a million times yes. Especially now. I miss it so much.
This is the kind of question that will keep me up at night so I am going to just say the first two that come to mind. Richard Pryor and Phyllis Diller.