Out of Whisky Business

Sarah Harper

A few moons ago, A&E machete’d through some mad brush to map out the Twin Cities’ open mic jungle.

Comedic cartographers, take note – the lol’ing landscape has since changed.

Whisky Busines, a comedy open mic night that found its home at Whisky Park on Wednesdays, is no longer in business.

The downtown sports bar gave the open mic the axe this past week. Whisky Park told Mike Linden, one of the event’s hosts, that they were “going in a different direction,” according to Phil Kolas, another host.

It didn’t come as a total surprise.

“There were signs,” said Kolas, who likened the bar’s behavior in the weeks leading up to the shut-down to that of a girlriend about to dump her main squeeze. Whisky Park diminished the comics’ pay and bar tab before cutting them off altogether.

“They expected us to bring people in. But it’s not a show, it’s just an open mic,” Kolas said.

Right. As entertaining as a comedy free-for-all can be, comics don’t usually bring their most polished, memorized set of jokes to the party. Rather, open mic nights give them a chance to test out new material, get feedback and refine their stuff.

As Kolas put it, “This is our gym class.”

But it looks like “gym class” didn’t cut it for Whisky Park, a bar that makes bank on Target Field’s thirsty runoff – customers more interested in real sports than ComedySportz.

It’s no big deal for the comics involved. They’ll find another room for Wednesday night and go in their own “different direction.” They can do what they do almost anywhere.

Hopefully, Kolas and the gang will find a venue that cares about spelling whiskey as much as it cares about selling it.