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MN-Made Comic Geoffrey Asmus Is ‘The Only Funny White Man’

Asmus returns to Sisyphus Brewing for a pair of shows this weekend.

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When they were students at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, Geoffrey Asmus and his buddies had a long tradition of going to open mic nights at Comedy on State. After knocking back a few beers, they’d sit back and watch people try their luck on stage. It wasn’t until two months before his graduation, after much cajoling from his buddies and at least a few of those beers, that Asmus got up behind the mic. 

Once he found his footing, he stood there in front of roughly 250 people in the packed club. And to his surprise, they laughed. “It immediately made me realize I wasted my whole time in college,” Asmus jokes. 

A decade later, he’s become an established act in the competitive New York City comedy scene, where in addition to performing at area clubs, he co-hosts the podcast You’re an Idiot with Alex Dragicevich, which drops on Asmus’s Youtube channel for his 45,000 followers.  

Like many stand-up comics today, Asmus built up an online audience, amassing over 184,000 followers on Tik Tok and another 173,000 on Instagram. His clips, which have gained millions of views, often depict him doing crowd work where he engages audience members by asking them questions about their faith or their careers, leading him to riff off of those topics. Asmus's responses can be jarring, but the mischievous comic is too charming to come off mean. Crowd work also lets him show off his ability to turn polarizing political topics into quick-witted punchlines, as he takes aim at both sides of the aisle for their supercilious attitudes. 

Asmus credits his ability to poke fun at liberals and conservatives alike to his upbringing in the Twin Cities. Born in Woodbury, he grew up in a Catholic home with a Midwest sensibility, something he believes makes Minnesota an ideal location for comics to perform their routine. Asmus described his own comedy as dirty and crass while being sophisticated at the same time. 

Shortly after college, Asmus moved to Minneapolis, where he cut his teeth in the comedy scene. He performed in spots like the Comedy Corner Underground and the now-closed Joke Joint and was part of a show his friends ran called “Boy Kisses” at Universe Games in Uptown. The group would have a different theme every week, often performing for a crammed (albeit tiny) makeshift venue. 

Asmus began touring in 2016, but didn't turn a profit until 2020—shortly before the pandemic. In NYC, he’s been perfecting his act and opening for comedians such as Dan Soder, Mark Normand, Dave Attell, and Sam Morril. Asmus says his move out east was motivated, in part, by the relationships he could build with bigger comics. But he also believed that being in a competitive comedic scene like New York would help him develop as a comic. 

“If you want to do stand up, you have to do comedy in New York or LA… or maybe you could do it in Chicago, too. It’s the only way to get better,” he explains. “You’re surrounded by probably 5,000 other comedians, and you just have to be good.”

Asmus was passed at the historical Comedy Cellar last summer, a term referring to the moment when a comedian is greenlit at a club to perform on the roster of returning comics. Also last year, Asmus released his first taped special, The Only Funny White Man, filmed at Minneapolis’s Sisyphus Brewing—a favorite for its classic brick wall and intimate, low ceilings. It premiered on Asmus’s YouTube channel in July, and in just five months racked up 300,000+ views.

Asmus admits the name is partially shocking clickbait, but it also stems from the arrogant, “alpha” persona he’s created for his stand up set. (His 2021 debut album also has a grabby title, The Prodigal Little Bitch.) The Only Funny White Man feels like a tour of his intrusive thoughts; Asmus comfortably weaves in and out of his jokes while discussing topics from the storming of the U.S. Capitol to parental sex to abortion, ice fishing, and hating Lutherans. Throughout, his delivery is boisterous yet nonchalant—sometimes, the alpha is even self-deprecating—and occasionally his remarks indicate that even he is surprised at some of the stuff coming out of his mouth. 

The audience occasionally found themselves being the butt of a joke, and while Asmus did several bits depicting rural America in a stereotypical light, he pivoted his focus on the (presumably) liberal audience and chided them for their ire toward the farmers and union workers who they couldn’t live without. 

Despite living in New York and performing at the same clubs where Chris Rock might drop in, Asmus still holds the Twin Cities as his favorite comedy scene. 

“I think, pound for pound, the Twin Cities is one of the top comedy scenes in the country,” he says, pointing to fellow locally launched comics like Chad Daniels, Mitch Hedberg, Maria Bamford, Nick Swardson, and Louie Anderson. “Minneapolis and Boston are my favorite cities to perform because they’re liberal and smart, but they’re not stupid about it. They’re still in a comedy show.”

Geoffrey Asmus and Friends
Where: Sisyphus Brewing, 712 Ontario Avenue West #100, Minneapolis
When: July 5 and July 6, 10 p.m.
Tickets: $15; more info here

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