When Tommy Ryman, one of Minnesota’s most iconic stand-up comedians and a semifinalist on Season 8 of NBC’s “Last Comic Standing,” takes the stage at Fat Pants Brewing in Eden Prairie on Aug. 25, he won’t be wearing “fat pants,” but his trousers might be a little less skinny.
“I have a 30-inch waist,” confesses the comedian. “But it was 28-inches before the pandemic.”
Ryman, whose credits include two Dry Bar Comedy specials (the second special will be released this fall), has been busy performing this summer. The Fat Pants gig won’t be Ryman’s first brewery show, and he does note that breweries are becoming popular venues.
“I do a lot of comedy clubs, performance art centers and small theaters,” says Ryman. “But breweries are fun too. Anywhere we can bring in a crowd, it’s a good spot to do comedy.”
Ryman moved from Los Angeles back to his home state of Minnesota at the start of the pandemic. During the lockdowns, many comedians had their livelihoods dry up; some performers quit, and others pivoted to podcasts or similar ventures. Like a few other comics, Ryman kept sharp by doing some virtual shows.
“When the pandemic first hit, I had a few gigs reschedule … a month out,” he laughs. “Nobody knew how long it was going to last. I ended up doing some Zoom shows and some outdoor shows. The Zoom shows were a little awkward; by the time I figured out how to best do Zoom shows they started to go away.”
In addition to his TV credits, Ryman has released three comedy albums. The latest, Party Troll, was released this spring and made it to #1 on the Apple Music charts.
When asked how he would describe his style of comedy, Ryman replies, “I do observational storytelling, clean comedy. A lot of it is goofy – I talk about my family, dogs, pets, jellyfish, movies. It’s relatable and fun. Some people compare my style to Nate Bargatze or Ryan Hamilton.”
Ryman is one of many outstanding comics that have come from the Twin Cities. For decades, Minnesota has regularly produced legendary stand-up comedians that have gone on to great success on a national level, from Louie Anderson, Maria Bamford, Chad Daniels and Lizz Winstead to Joel Hodgson and Mitch Hedberg. The Twin Cities area has been recognized by comedy insiders as one of the top comedy scenes in the country.
Ryman has some thoughts on why this is.
“In Minnesota, it’s cold, so we’re stuck inside and we’ve got more time to be creative,” he says. “Plus, I feel like Midwest humor can translate to other regions easily. It’s a nice comedy scene to come out of.”
The “Fat Pants, Big Laughs” comedy show at Fat Pants Brewing, produced by YellowBrick Comedy, will also feature comedians Cianna Violet, Ben Marcotte and Jon Stannard. The (ages 18+) show is on Thursday, Aug. 25, at 7 p.m., with doors opening at 6 p.m. Cost is $20 in advance and $25 at the door. You can purchase tickets in advance online from the Events page at yellowbrickcomedy.com or by visiting the Fat Pants Big Laughs event page on Eventbrite.
Editor’s Note: This is the first installment of a monthly comedy-focused column, Little Joke on the Prairie, by Eden Prairie resident Pat LaVone. He is a writer, speaker, stand-up comic and storyteller. During the original comedy boom, Pat began performing stand-up and sketch comedy in the mid-1980s. After a brief 30-year hiatus, he returned to the stage to perform stand-up and storytelling shows as well as humorous keynote presentations. He currently produces shows for YellowBrick Comedy and performs at various theaters and clubs around Minnesota.