Brave New Workshop strokes funny bones

âÄúAll I Want for Christmas is 700 Billion Dollars: Our 50th NoelâÄù WHEN: Check Website WHERE: Brave New Workshop , 2605 Hennepin Ave. S. TICKETS: $17 www.bravenewworkshop.com Before there was Lorne Michaels and âÄúSaturday Night Live,âÄù before there was The Second City Comedy troupe , and before improv was called improv, there was Dudley Riggs and the Brave New Workshop. Riggs, born into the fifth generation of a distinguished show business family, began working in his familyâÄôs circus at the age of five. He continued as a performer and aerialist eventually working for Barnum and BaileyâÄôs until a near fatal fall left him searching for a new profession. The year was 1958 and Riggs, a talented vaudeville comedian, decided to found the Instant Comedy Theatre âÄî an act consisting of circus-like performances, vaudeville and satire-based, audience-prompted comedy. The troupe went on the road and eventually settled down where? You guessed it, in Minneapolis. Now, 264 shows and three million audience members later, Brave New Workshop is in their 50th year. The BNW has been the resident satire company on National Public RadioâÄôs âÄúAll Things Considered âÄù and is the third oldest theatre in Minneapolis. The BNW also operates one of the worldâÄôs three largest schools of improvisation in addition to conducting training workshops for corporate employees on how to be more imaginative. The alumni of Brave New Workshop include the likes of Pat Proft, (Writer/Producer âÄúNaked Gun,âÄù âÄúPolice Academy,âÄù âÄúHotshotsâÄù), as well as comedians Louie Anderson, Al Franken and Mo Collins among others . âÄúAll I Want for Christmas is 700 Billion DollarsâÄù is BNWâÄôs brilliant 50th Christmas show, an astutely composed blend of topical politics, pop culture references, holiday nostalgia and clever banter. Featuring little else than the acting talents of a tight-knit team of six comedians, a few directors, a man with a piano and around 60 hours a week of breakneck rehearsal, this Christmas show is the kind of jewel that can speak to families across America. From choruses of âÄúThe 12 Days of Christmas âÄú sung from the perspective of different parents, to the star-crossed homoerotic adventures of Blitzen and Rudolph , âÄúAll I Want for Christmas is 700 Billion Dollars,âÄù is comedic frankincense and myrrh from start to finish. A seamless blend of Minnesotan truisms, current events and Midwestern holiday tradition is served up like âÄúhot dishâÄù in this two-hour variety show, which differs from night to night through a lack of fixed script. With cheap snacks and drinks aplenty and a theatre that is small enough to make any performance seem intimate, itâÄôs no wonder that Brave New Workshop is credited as the nationâÄôs longest running satirical comedy company .