A Guide to the Open Mic

A&E sets you up with an open mic night for every godforsaken weekday.

by Sarah Harper


The surplus of talent in the Twin Cities is so great that musicians, poets and comedians give their services away for free.

If you stick around, you might never have to pay to watch an omega male tell jokes about the commercial he just saw on the Discovery Channel.

So take advantage of where youâÄôre at by spending a few nights on the areaâÄôs open-mic-night circuit. Whether you want to kick back in the audience or spit your own flow, hereâÄôs a weekday guide for you:


Caught in the Act
ACME Comedy Co.
708 N. First St., Minneapolis
8 p.m.




ACME is the older boyfriend of Minneapolis venues âÄî heâÄôs always inviting cool people over (Jeremy Messersmith, Aby Wolf and Brother Ali have stopped by) and his basement is the perfect place for your first time, which will only last three minutes.

If youâÄôre an open-mic virgin, you will get special treatment here. Newbies put a star by their names when they sign up and are guaranteed at least a little bit of time in the limelight.

The PoetâÄôs Groove
Blue Nile Restaurant & Lounge
2027 Franklin Ave. E., Minneapolis

11 p.m.





Enough of this lowbrow virginity talk. YouâÄôre better than that. ThatâÄôs why youâÄôre going to kick it over to the West Bank and see a full in-house band and a variety of poets and vocalists at the Blue Nile.

This Ethiopian restaurantâÄôs open-mic night is hosted by jazz drummer Kevin Washington and hip-hop VIP Desdamona, so things will get soulful. Things will get funky. Things will get reggae-riffic.

And things will probably get literary, so make sure you have a pocket dictionary (or a smart phone if youâÄôre a high-roller). YouâÄôll want it when you sneak into the bathroom to figure out what the last part of that slam poetâÄôs set meant.

Whisky Business
Whisky Park MPLS

15 S. Fifth St., Minneapolis
9 p.m.




ItâÄôs whisky, alright. Performers get a shot of Jameson on the house, and for their parched, comedy-loving fans, Miller Lite is on tap for just a dollar.

After all that imbibing, you might need to go freshen up a bit in the powder room. And if you love bar bathrooms as much as you should, youâÄôll be pleasantly surprised by this one âÄî when youâÄôre in there, you can hear exactly whatâÄôs being said onstage via a futuristic bathroom speaker system.

Sounds great, right? Well yeah, but gingerphobes beware âÄî Whisky Business is hosted in part by a grimy redhead.


Open Mic Night
Galactic Pizza

2917 Lyndale Ave. S., Minneapolis

10 p.m.



All ages

Imagine a grandma baking cookies in a hand-knit sweater. ThatâÄôs how cozy Galactic PizzaâÄôs open mic is.

Now imagine a grandma dressed up like a superhero baking a pizza with a whacky name. ThatâÄôs more like it.

It goes against the ethics of journalism (and the law?) to encourage people to get stoned before heading to a comedy show. So donâÄôt get high, man.

But youâÄôll have to do something to mentally prepare yourself for the often brilliant, occasionally offensive musings of the local under-employed. Maybe load up on that pizza.

If you want to try your hand at any of these venues, all you have to do is sign up an hour before they start. And remember that even though each venue has its own norms, most open mics truly are âÄúopenâÄù âÄî if you want to, you can go up there and read off your grocery list. Just be ready for the heckler backlash.