How do you do, Andy?

Andy Erikson has a few wishes: She wants everyone to be nice to each other, the moon to be closer to the earth and unicorns to be real.

University of Minnesota alumna Andy Erikson has made a name for herself in the local comedy scene. She will be performing at the Corner Bar Men with Hats show Thursday, Nov. 3. at 8 pm.

University of Minnesota alumna Andy Erikson has made a name for herself in the local comedy scene. She will be performing at the Corner Bar “Men with Hat”s show Thursday, Nov. 3. at 8 pm.

Sarah Harper

What: Andy Erikson at âÄúMen With HatsâÄù

When: 8 p.m., tonight

Where: Comedy Corner Underground in the Corner BarâÄôs basement, 1501 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis

Cost: Free


If youâÄôre the blonde who was wearing a pink backpack on the route-three bus last Friday, the 6âÄô1âÄù brunette who helped you out with directions wants to say sorry. She realized (too late) that she told you the wrong way to get to Centennial Hall. She feels bad about it.

If you want to have it out with her in person, her name is Andy Erikson and sheâÄôll be at the Corner Bar tonight at 8 p.m. Set a trap for her âÄî she wonâÄôt be able to resist an assortment of cutie beasts (think: a tamed squirrel, a hamster, a live unicorn) and some doodling materials. But you probably wonâÄôt want to fight the comic when you catch wind of her personality, which is as sweet as her diet.

âÄúI eat candy every day, all the time,âÄù Erikson said.

At tonightâÄôs âÄúMen with Hats,âÄù Erikson might talk about pictures she drew when she was a little kid, including a drawing of figure skater Kristi Yamaguchi. But Erikson wonâÄôt be doing standup, because thatâÄôs against the rules at this new variety night. The premise of the show, created by Justin Colucci and Jesse Towler, is that comedians perform anything but their regular routines. So some comics will do characters, some will sing songs and all will prove that theyâÄôre not one-(liner)-trick ponies.

A collection of EriksonâÄôs drawings and jokes, along with an imagined interview with Lee Ann Womack, an original song and a Stephen Colbert-style auto-interview, will be featured in the book sheâÄôs been working on, called âÄúDolphin Pants and Secret Unicorns: Jokes for Weird People.âÄù

If the 24-year-old comic is seen tip-tapping away at her cellphone, thereâÄôs a good chance sheâÄôs recording a bolt of comic inspiration. The tiny messages Erikson writes to herself like, âÄúIn case of a fashion emergency, who should I contact?âÄù and âÄúPretend youâÄôre a horse; now explain your first spiritual experience using horse languageâÄù are the unedited embryos of jokes. They will incubate and grow into the joke babies sheâÄôs been delighting (and at times, perplexing) crowds with since she was a student at the University of Minnesota.

And these little jokes have legs. They get around to her website in the form of blog posts, pictures and videos, and her Twitter in the form of standup-ready one-liners. They rest in the memories of the audience members that make up her growing fan base.

Comics are notorious for unhappy backgrounds, often stepping up to the mic saddled with broken families and broken hearts. But EriksonâÄôs supportive family keeps her from becoming a sad clown. If sheâÄôs not writing joke ideas into her phone, Erikson might be texting her mom, who has always supported her comedy career. Along with her grandma and other family members, EriksonâÄôs mom enthusiastically drove her to open mics every single night when she was rendered immobile by a back surgery in college.

Having her family members with her was beneficial for all involved: EriksonâÄôs mom brought cookies to open mic nights and bought groceries for the comics when she saw how under-employed and hard-working they were.

âÄúMy grandma used to heckle me and yell things like, âÄòTell your Walmart joke!âÄô and IâÄôd be like, âÄòShut up, grandma!âÄôâÄù**** Erikson said.

As a graphic design student at the University, Erikson got a lot of love from her professors too. When her grades started slipping, she admitted to a professor, âÄúIâÄôm not a graphic designer; IâÄôm a comedian.âÄù So her teachers took up the cause and helped her do everything possible to develop as a comic.

Once, Erikson skipped out on a typography class to try out for âÄúLast Comic StandingâÄú âÄî her professor told her he wouldnâÄôt count her as absent if she did her standup routine in front of the class. Afterward, he gave her tips.

Her graphic design professors taught her the things that became useful in her comedic career âÄî how to develop ideas, create an identity and be remembered. They also allowed her to be herself.

âÄúThey let me be weird,âÄù Erikson said.

Erikson has kept her graphic design degree in her back pocket, doing freelance work and designing websites and business cards for local comics and flyers for events. SheâÄôs also trying to make her pictures a bigger part of her routine.

âÄúComedy is challenging. ItâÄôs like little puzzles you have to solve,âÄù Erikson said. âÄúYouâÄôre trying to make people laugh, and youâÄôre still trying to be different, and youâÄôre trying to find out who you are.âÄù