5 local comedians to watch in 2017

Shelly Paul


Shelly Paul

Some people dream of getting up on stage, but never go through with it. Others stumble into performing and take to it like fish to water.

Shelly Paul falls somewhere in between.

“I wanted to do stand-up for an embarrassingly long time before I actually went to an open mic,” she recalls. “I had notebooks that I wrote down ideas for jokes in since middle school, but I had no idea that it was something you could just do. I didn’t know there was even such thing as a comedy open mic. So it was always just kind of this thing that I was like, ‘Yeah that’s my dream, maybe someday.’”

In 2013, Paul met a local stand-up in town and mentioned her dream of breaking into comedy. He gave her a crash course in becoming a performer, and told her about the open mic night at Grumpy’s Bar.

She finally gave it a shot in September of 2013, but it wasn’t until 2014 that she really picked it up and really committed.

Now a few years into her career, Paul has become a regular fixture at different clubs thanks to her snarky kid-sister delivery and ability to pick up a guitar when the mood calls for it. She also produces a monthly showcase at The Comedy Corner Underground alongside comedian Rana May called PSSY CTRL, which features predominately female comedians. While the show takes place on the second Thursday of each month, she considers the club her comedy home.

”I have been a showrunner there for coming up on two years doing sound and lights and stuff, and running the open mic,” she says of the club. “All of which has helped my comedy career immensely. I’m very grateful for all the opportunities I’ve gotten from working there.”

As for the year ahead, Paul is hoping to take her act on the road and get outside of Minnesota, both in clubs and through festivals. For now, however, you can likely catch her building her set at House of Comedy, Sisyphus, and anywhere else she can find an audience.

Where can you see her next?

Next page: Ali Sultan

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