5 local comedians to watch in 2017

Turner Barrowman


Turner Barrowman

There is no shortage of quality comedy stages in town for established and aspiring performers. Whether it’s established clubs like Acme and House of Comedy, or smaller rooms like Grumpy’s and Dulono’s Pizza, you can catch stand-up comedy of varying degrees of quality any night of the week.

But Sundays are different.

On Sunday nights, Turner Barrowman, alongside Drew Janda, Robert Fones, and Collin Klug gather inside of Universe Games in Uptown for the most unpredictable, unique, and occasionally disturbing comedy showcase in the Twin Cities: Boy Kisses.

The weekly free showcase was originally the brainchild of Barrowman and Klug, and was born out of Barrowman’s experience seeing similar types of indie comedy shows in other parts of the country.

“I really liked the DIY-style of comic-produced shows when I was out in Denver,” Barrowman recalls. “I came back to Minneapolis and was really surprised there wasn’t anything like that, especially since this is such a big comedy town.”

Recognizing an opportunity to carve out a niche of his own, Barrowman got together and launched Boy Kisses, which has become a must-see show for both fans and comedians alike.

Before he was part of the alt-comedy crew, Barrowman was an improv student with aspirations of telling jokes.

“I tried stand-up just to do it,” he says. “I had a pretty bad set, but I heard you did bad at first so I just sort of expected it. Then I continued to be bad until I wasn’t.”

Just over two years into his career, Barrowman had built up the confidence he needed to work with other comedians who he considered to be at the top of their craft. Still, there was something missing.

“I was doing jokes that were really self-deprecating because I thought that as a comedian you were supposed to shit on yourself,” Barrowman says. “That really doesn’t fit my personality, so I started to write more honestly and it allowed me to start being funny the way I thought I was, not the way I thought I was supposed to be.”

Today, aside from his weekly engagement at Boy Kisses, Barrowman can be found on his own, performing on more traditional comedy stages like House of Comedy and Sisyphus Brewing. His comedy touches on hard-hitting topics like candy and video games, which make him a solid fit for any show regardless of tone.

As for the future, Barrowman plans to keep writing, even if that sounds super cliche.

“It sounds like sort of a cop-out but honestly my goal every day is just to write a new joke and exploring new ways to be funny, whether that’s doing stand-up or through Boy Kisses.”

Where can you see him next?

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