Laughing With the Loons: The Brave New Workshop Celebrates 57 Years of Entertaining Minnesotans

BNW Party

Dozens of actors, writers and comedians – and even a U.S. Senator – can trace their comedic roots back to one source: Minnesota’s Brave New Workshop. A longtime Bellmont Partners client, the one-of-a-kind comedy institution recently celebrated 57 years of shaping the comedy scene in Minneapolis and across the country through a new book written by Twin Cities arts writer Rob Hubbard. Published by History Press, Brave New Workshop: Promiscuous Hostility and Laughs in the Land of Loons chronicles America’s oldest satirical comedy theatre’s marvelous, unexpected and absurd history.

After coordinating numerous media appearances centered around the book over the past few weeks, we helped document the book release party on social media. Founder and class act Dudley Riggs arrived to the Workshop in style, and guests were greeted with a red carpet and smiling faces. Just inside, partygoers and distinguished Brave New Workshop alumni picked up their own copies of the humorous history book. We kept ourselves busy taking lots of photos of Workshop memorabilia.

After some socializing, guests visited the upstairs main stage theater for a hilarious panel – featuring Dudley Riggs, Rob Hubbard and alumni Pat Proft (of Naked Gun, Hot Shots! and Scary Movie fame) and Anita Anderson O’Sullivan – moderated by co-owner John Sweeney. Around 100 guests and alumni listened and laughed along to dozens of stories about the Workshop’s earliest (and later) years, including the story of how the Workshop started as a small espresso shop in 1958. Needing a way to attract more customers, Dudley started producing small comedy performances at the coffee shop. Audiences came, and thus the Brave New Workshop was born.


As the evening drew to a close, guests gathered back down in the ETC to have their books signed by Rob and Dudley – which also turned into an old-fashioned yearbook signing for the Workshop’s alumni present. The event was a blast, and we had an especially great time hearing firsthand stories about the Workshop’s vibrant and rich the history. You can read more about the night over at MinnPost.

If you want your own copy of Brave New Workshop: Promiscuous Hostility and Laughs in the Land of Loons, you can order one today at:

Leave a Comment