You heard it here first.

Starting January 2012, I’ll be hosting “You Are Hear,” a new monthly podcast for

Listeners will discover new stories, poems, humor pieces and other word stuffs written and recorded by Minnesota’s finest literary, comedy and spoken-word talents — unless they’re under contract at MPR.
People you’ve heard of. People who’ve barely heard of themselves. Plus my bearded baritone.

You should probably make room on your iPod now. That’s what Steve Jobs would’ve wanted.

I’ll post additional deets and submission guidelines here and on Facebook in early December.

You heard it here first.

Some Q’s that I’ve A’d.

I’m aware the headline of this post is all manner of wrong in the apostrophe department, Officer Grammar. I’m taking creative liberty, just like I do sometimes when folks ask me questions that I choose to answer.

Back in 2006, when I was just beginning my missionary joke-writing for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency,
I talked to Matthew Simmons. At least he’s gone on to great things.

Poet, photographer and artist Peter Schwartz talked to me in 2009 for the online literary/arts mag Prate.

French teacher, writer, performer and blogger extraordinaire Michele Campbell kicked off her Life of Art series with this Q&A.

My most recent online interview was for the wonderful people at and The Walker Art Center. They tricked my favorite bookstore out of me, among other juicy tidbits.

Four interviews in about five years. That borders on media harassment, if you ask me.

Some Q’s that I’ve A’d.

Forget if you want. But remember again by 9/11.

I’ll be performing a mix of vintage and brand-new stand-up at this the Sunday after I return from Scotland.
I hope folks are able to understand whatever brogue I pick up across the pond. I hope I’m sober by then, too.

I’m thrilled to be gigging for/with the Workhaus Collective. At The Playwrights’ Center, where theater begins.
That can only bode well for those “acting” gigs not in my future.

Forget if you want. But remember again by 9/11.

Once upon a time ago.

If you made it out to  Ferrari McSpeedy’s “Once Upon a Time in the Suburbs” at the 2011 Minnesota Fringe, thank you. If you happened to review the show on the Fringe site or on your blog or for a more official print or digital media outlet, thanks again. If you were one of the reviewers who suggested that I speak an unfamiliar form of English out of your ear’s range, believe me when I reply here, in typed words that I hope your eyes can read, I got the message.

I heard you loud and clear.

I used to review books and music for money, so I understand the impulse to protect innocent consumers from bad art for money and/or a lack of self-esteem.

What I think of the Pioneer Press and/or its theater criticism isn’t the point.

The point is this: I learned a ton performing in a big, goofy female western in Ayn Rand’s idea of a theater. Last time I got to perform with such talented folks in such an impressive venue was back in 2007, when I did vaudeville with Ned Beatty. Of course that Ned Beatty. No shit.

And, no, we’re not related. We established that chatting backstage, as soon as we were introduced.

But he’d be a cool grandpa. Too bad he wasn’t available for Fringe.

Once upon a time ago.

Every job is an acting job.

I’m less busy than usual, but exponentially more stressed out of my mind.

That’s the only excuse I have for neglecting my reader.

Acting is hard. Dialogue does not stick to my brain, it turns out. I’ve never been the kind of guy to memorize sets or stories word-for-word. When not working directly from a script or set list, I’ve always outlined what I planned to perform, then talked loosely around that vaguely memorized outline.

This has turned me into a rambling, inconsistent stage performer. Or a shambolic, authentic charmer, if you happen to enjoy what I do.

My difficulties with the acting craft made me appreciate all the more Will Eno’s “Oh the Humanity and Other Good Intentions” when I saw The Peanut Butter Factory’s current production of it at Intermedia Arts. Christopher Kehoe, Mo Perry and Matt Sciple made Eno’s abstract, existential jokes sing with equal measures of dark comedy and genuine vulnerability.

That’s why I pitched the production for an MPR Art Hounds segment. Besides the fact that I love radio.

I could now promise to update this site more often once I’m done with the Fringe, but that would go against my commitment phobias. Let’s just take this as it goes and see what happens. We’re both grown-ups.

Every job is an acting job.

Here’s what you missed.

So last week I performed half an hour of old and new material at The Brutenanny. I played a few banjo and guitar ditties, too.

That’s not detailed enough for you, you say. Well, I made fun of children, liberals, conservatives, reality TV’s Kardashian sisters and, mostly, myself. I hope you’re happy now.

The Cub Scouts and the audience’s discomfort with my comedic point-of-view were also critiqued.

And when the closing joke of my set turned out not to go as planned, I detailed my own rudeness to a dude in a wheelchair earlier that evening, a mean little story that I made up for easy laughs. Then, after my set was over, I learned that there had, indeed, been a dude in a wheelchair out in front of the bar before the show.

I’d not seen him. Maybe the camouflage he was wearing in my made-up story worked better than I thought.

By way of comparison, I tell a terrifying true story on the latest episode of Mike Fotis‘s podcast for METRO, Story Time Explosion.

Here’s what you missed.

Hey, hey we’re the Brutes!

Joshua Wenck used to be a member of the traditional roots music duo The Get Up Johns. Now he’s making music as Evangelista.

Paul Metzger leads the powerhouse avant-prog rock trio TVBC.
He’s also acclaimed for improvising on guitar and modified banjo.

Brian Beatty used to write “Jokes by Brian Beatty” for McSweeney’s and METRO and perform for comedy fans. Expect that, plus ditties.

331 CLUB
Wednesday, May 25
9:30 PM | NO COVER

Hey, hey we’re the Brutes!