For troupe, it’s all jokes and kisses on stage

Founded in 2014, “Boy Kisses” has garnered acclaim for their alternative comedy showcase.

Local comedian Jacob Blank performs stand-up for the

Alex Tuthill-Preus

Local comedian Jacob Blank performs stand-up for the “Talent Show” edition of the Boy Kisses comedy showcase at Universe Games on Sunday. The group’s sketch comedy gained national exposure in July when they were featured on Comedy Central’s “Tosh.0.”

Joe Cristo

For comedy troupe Boy Kisses, conventional comedy routines
are outdated.

“We like audience engagement,” said Robert Fones, one of the
troupe’s producers. “Every year we throw a ‘prom,’ and our shows are in the
back of a comic book store. Everything is very relaxed.”

Now, the troupe’s audience could be growing thanks to
recently having one of its sketches featured on Comedy Central’s “Tosh.0.”

Founded by Turner Barrowman and Collin Klug in October 2014,
Boy Kisses began as a chance encounter between the two at a stand-up routine;
but for both, collaboration immediately seemed fruitful.

“The first thing we did together was the [Minnesota] Fringe
Festival,” Barrowman said. “Fringe is lottery-based. Collin got that, so we
decided to write a show together.”

After their first joint show, Barrowman and Klug saw
potential in a weekly showcase for alternative comedy.

“One Sunday we were just walking around looking for a place
to watch something,” Klug said. “And we knew a comic who was friends with the
owner of Universe Games. They were very down, and Sunday night was the night
they had open.”

The moniker, “Boy Kisses,” originally began as a joke. But
when the duo was pitching names for the group, it stuck.

“The interesting thing about the name is that it sort of
weeds people out,” Klug said. “Like no drunk frat boys are going to come to a
show called Boy Kisses. They’ll think it’s ‘gross.’”

When the group eventually sought help in writing and
performing material, Barrowman and Klug reached out to producers and performers
Robert Fones and Drew Janda.

Now that the Boy Kisses lineup was complete, the group
nailed down a process for creating their weekly live show, meeting every
Thursday to write new jokes.

Usually, they start with a theme, like “La Croix” or “Big
Pile of Cocaine,” and write two sketches based around it. Then they book other
comics to help fill the rest of the event; sometimes music even creeps its way
into the show.

“Besides what we do every week,” Barrowman said. “We bring
in comics from all around the country. It’s a free show where on any given
night someone who is performing has been on Conan.”

While Boy Kisses has garnered acclaim for their live
“variety show,” they have recently expanded into the video sketch realm,
uploading a video to their YouTube account every week.

“We switch off each week,” Barrowman said. “One week is a
sketch taped from our live show and the next week it’s a sketch we all record
together. Matt Ayers films everything for us.”

Those videos have helped the group amassed 500,000 views and
thousands of subscribers — their videos have scored top spots on Reddit and
“Tosh.0.”

The group is focusing on gaining more exposure. The
occasional out-of-town show aside, they are focused on making Sunday nights a
staple in the Twin Cities’ comedic rounds.

“We’re always looking to maybe book a few shows out of
town,” Fones said. “But we are never gonna leave Universe [Games]. We’re happy
to do shows around town but they’ve been so good to us.”

Boy Kisses performs every Sunday night at 7:30 p.m. at
Universe Games.