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Comedian Adrian Washington puts St. Cloud (and himself) on the comedy map

Adrian Washington is putting St. Cloud on Minnesota's comedy map // Photo courtesy Adrian Washington

Adrian Washington is putting St. Cloud on Minnesota’s comedy map // Photo courtesy Adrian Washington

Adrian Washington’s start in stand-up comedy was less than ordinary.

While some aspiring comics are scratching and clawing their way for a few brief minutes of stage time at a local open mic, Washington managed to talk his way onto the stage.

“I remember one night I was at First Street Station in St. Cloud, not even in the comedy club part but sitting over on the other side of the bar,” Washington recalls. “I could hear the comic but I didn’t hear anyone laughing. I thought, ‘That dude is getting paid for that and nobody is laughing. I could at least do what he’s doing, if not better.”

Washington had always considered himself funny and had a knack for making people laugh. Though he says he was always open to opportunity, he never took the idea of doing stand-up too seriously, especially growing up in St. Cloud.

“It was an easy way to meet girls,” he laughs.

Washington knew the bar manager on duty that night and inquired about getting involved with their stand-up scene.

“He told me that they were going to lose their emcee in a couple of weeks because he was going back to school, so they invited me to come back and take over after he was gone,” Washington says. “A couple of weeks later, I go in and they tell me, ‘I’m sorry but the emcee isn’t going back after all, but we can give you a guest spot.’ I had no clue what a guest spot was at that point, but I figured it was either shit or get off the pot so I got up and did it.”

Washington was hooked. He went back to the bar and got on stage every month for the next six months, bringing in new fans and beginning to develop a following locally.

“I started to realize that I was bringing in all of these people and I wasn’t getting a dime,” Washington recalls. “So I decided to start putting together my own shows instead.”

As any comedy club owner or show producer can attest, putting on an event is no easy feat. And being both a producer and a performer is even harder. But to his advantage, Washington was blissfully unaware of the challenges facing him and powered forward in creating a show of his own.

“I ran around town scouting American Legions and hotel ballrooms that could fit like 100 or 200 people. I didn’t have any idea what I was doing, but I knew there was potential. The biggest thing for me was that I knew if I wanted to perform and make any money, I was going to have to do it myself.”

After a few successful shows in St. Cloud, Washington decided to check out the Minneapolis comedy scene, starting with the most notable club in town—Acme Comedy Company.

“I started coming down to the Cities and I  got on stage at Acme’s open mic. I was well-received by the crowd, but it was only three minutes,” Washington says. “I pulled a manager to the side that night and explained that I was driving all the way from St. Cloud, and if I could only make it down once a month, could he make sure I get up on stage? He told me, no, because there were so many people trying to get stage time. But I didn’t let myself get bitter; I just got better.”

Not only did he get better as a performer, but Washington took a town that wasn’t exactly on the radar for comics and made it into a place where people could see amazing comedy from both local and national acts.

“I’d make friends in the Cities with other comics and I’d bring them up here to perform. I also started putting on big shows at the Convention Center,” he says. “I brought in Donnell Rawlings, Steve-O, Gary Owen. It was just a lot of fun and it was allowing me to also perform with these people [while] building my own fanbase.”

Washington had managed to do something very few other comics in Minnesota had been able to achieve. Instead of working at making himself a part of the Minneapolis comedy scene, he had made the Minneapolis scene a part of his.

Now 15 years into his comedy career, he still produces a monthly show in St. Cloud at the Red Carpet Nightclub, under his own 1 Mic Entertainment imprint, and continues to headline the Steel Toe Comedy shows across central Minnesota. He’s also managed to find his footing in the Twin Cities, as a regular at House of Comedy inside of Mall of America and a regular show at The Pourhouse in Minneapolis. Outside of stand-up, he started a podcast three months ago called “Comedy & Kinfolk.”

Adrian Washington on stage // Photo courtesy Adrian Washington

Adrian Washington on stage // Photo courtesy Adrian Washington

In addition to his local success, Washington has managed to find his way to performing in other parts of the country, creating new relationships and finding new fans everywhere he goes.

“I was just out in Las Vegas for some shows; I go out to LA, and I love it. I love every second that I’m on stage,” he says. “But I also know that these people don’t know me, so it’s my job to make them remember me. I want to make sure that the next time they hear about me, even if it’s three or four months later, they’re thinking, ‘That’s that dude from Minnesota! We got to check him out!’”

With a natural ability to connect with any audience, and a work ethic that dwarfs the majority of his comedy peers, it’s not too far fetched to assume that Washington would want to leave his native St. Cloud in search of bigger stages or greater opportunities. But to Washington, there’s no place like home.

“Sometimes I’ll think about what would happen if I was in a bigger scene,” he says. “And I think to myself, ‘The sky would be the limit.’ But then I take a step back and realize that I love it here [in St. Cloud] because this is where I built my comedy from the ground up. When someone tells my story, I want them to talk about how I did it right here at home, and didn’t have to depend on anyone else.”

Adrian Washington will be opening up for comedian Chris Distefano at Bloomington’s House of Comedy from November 21–23; show times and ticket information can be found here.

Sours: https://www.growlermag.com/comedian-adrian-washington-puts-st-cloud-and-himself-on-the-comedy-map/

Adrian Washington: Carving out a St. Cloud comedy career with 'quick wit' and a big heart

Comedian Adrian Peterson is pictured Wednesday, Oct. 31, in St. Cloud.

ST. CLOUD — Adrian Washington's kids frequently have to remind him that not everything is a joke.

"I'm like 'Well, jokes feed you!' " Washington said with an easy laugh.

The year-old comedian and father of three took naturally to comedy from a young age. Now, he's made a name for himself both locally and in national circles as an off-the-cuff funnyman and comic promoter.

Growing up the class clown

Before he was sharing the stage with the likes of Steve-O ("Jackass") and Donnell Rawlings ("Chapelle's Show"), Washington was just a kid from Greenville, Mississippi who had a reputation as a class clown.

Washington and his family moved to St. Cloud in , after spending a few years in a "violent" neighborhood of Minneapolis.

"When we moved to Minnesota, we didn't know anything about it," he said. "We knew three things: We knew we had cousins here, we knew it got cold, and we knew Prince lived here."

MORE: Veterans Day marks Armistice Day centennial

Washington bounced from school to school and even, briefly, back to Mississippi before being expelled in his junior year. When he moved back to St. Cloud, he finished high school in an alternative learning center.

Washington entered early adulthood as more than just a Class of Apollo High School graduate.  He emerged as a father; his son Marquel came into the world when Washington himself was only  He emerged as a comic, too, even if he didn't quite know it yet.

"I always was a class clown," he said. "I didn't even know I was cracking jokes, but my old teachers and people who knew me forever, they were like, 'Dude, you've been doing this for a long time.' "

Initially, Washington started in the business simply because he loved to make people laugh.

"I started at 1st Street Station in I was sitting at the bar by myself and I could hear the comic, but I couldn't hear people laughing," he said. "I thought to myself, 'I could at least do better than that.' "

Washington worked hard to spin his humble start at that five-minute guest spot into a year career. He's performed locally at the Red Carpet for over 10 of those years.

"Feb. 24, will make 15 years," he said. "And I was just able to quit my job in December Now, (comedy) is how I make a living; it's how I feed my family."

Local comedian Adrian Washington smiles Wednesday, Oct. 31, , outside the Red Carpet Nightclub in St. Cloud.

Family, funny business & philanthropy

Washington's wife, Laura, and his children have inspired him to give back to the St. Cloud community as much as he can.

Washington described his year-old son, Masyn, as having recently been diagnosed with "high-functioning" autism.

"That hit me close to the heart," Washington said. "So now I give the Autism Society of Minnesota a portion of the proceeds from my shows, from the sale of T-shirts and DVDs."

In April, which is Autism Awareness Month, Washington set up a GoFundMe campaign for a project he called "Avengers for Autism," raising money to rent out a theater at Marcus Parkwood  

Thanks to Washington's efforts, about 50 children with autism, developmental disabilities and other behavioral disorders, as well as their parents or caretakers, settled in to watch "Avengers: Age of Ultron" in a sensory-friendly environment.

"They could run around, they could talk, they could just enjoy seeing a movie surrounded by people who really get it," Washington said. "It was dope to see all those kids in there just having fun."

Washington's big heart and his love of people extends beyond his family, and even beyond the typical comic-audience dynamic.

After being contacted by the therapist of a fan who had recently attempted suicide, Washington said he decided to make a trip to CentraCare. He sat with the man for nearly two hours, talking and laughing, and even gave the man a guest spot in two of his shows.

"And he nailed it!" Washington said. "He was thanking me, and I just said, 'You know, if this gives you something to look forward to, and I'm in the position to let you do it, I'd be a fool not to.' "

MORE: Nearly $1 million grant will help fund mental health services in Central Minnesota

Taking the (1)mic and more 

Washington draws inspiration from the comedians of his youth. He cites Richard Pryor as a major influence, and even has the legendary comedian tattooed on his left arm. He also said he's regularly in awe of the caliber of comedians with whom he has shared the stage.

"It's insane, to be riding in your car with people you grew up watching," he said.

Washington's material is decidedly not family-friendly.It is also never part of a pre-written set.

That's right — his performances are percent improvised on the spot, despite never taking a single improv class.

"I remember about 12 years ago, someone booked me for a New Year's Eve show. I did a minute set and I hadn't written down a word of it. I stepped off stage and Man, if I could go back in time and see that smile on my face. I knew I didn't have to write anything ever again," Washington reminisced.

"I take what the crowd gives me. I'm very quick-witted, and I've been doing it long enough that it just comes naturally to me. I don't know how to say the same thing twice," he said. "What if I had a set in my head, and I went up there and it wasn't working? Do you stick to the set and it sucks, or do you switch it up?"

"Switching it up" is a good way to describe the comedian's entry into the business world with his entertainment company, 1Mic Entertainment.

Under the 1Mic umbrella, Washington both performs ("'1Mic' because as a comic, one mic is all I ever need. And, you know, there's only '1-Mi,' " he adds with a sly grin) and books other comics to perform in St. Cloud and other locales.

"I want it to be a household name, where if it's a 1Mic show, people know what they're gonna get," Washington said.

"The big shows, they're not even about me. But the great thing about my audience is almost everyone else is a bonus," he explained.

"I always say, I ain't got fans, I have family. I've known so many people for so long. They come to see me, and their attitude is, 'If someone else happens to be funny and they're there, we'll laugh at them too!' "

Comedian Adrian Washington poses with his custom license plates Wednesday, Oct. 31, , in downtown St. Cloud.

St. Cloud's comedy star 

All of Washington's personal and professional pursuits paint a portrait of a true self-made man.

But why do it all in St. Cloud, a place Washington is the first to describe as "a small town nobody's ever heard of"?

"It's home," Washington said simply. "It's my community. I try to do everything I can to keep it a good community, to bring entertainment here and keep our dollars here. For so many years I went to the (Twin) Cities for stuff, but people want entertainment here."

For the first time in the conversation, funnyman Adrian Washington is very, very serious.

"Here, I'm somebody. I love doing it around here because this is what made me. Minneapolis didn't make me, St. Cloud did. That's one of my biggest joys, putting it on in my own backyard," he said.

"Plus," he added, breaking into a cocky grin, "if I do it here, my friends don't have an excuse not to come!"

Follow Alyssa Zaczek on Twitter: @sctimesalyssa, email her at [email protected], or call her at ()

Read more:

New businesses developing on Division Street

Pacific Wok closes downtown St. Cloud location

Sours: https://www.sctimes.com/story/entertainment//11/07/adrian-washington-st-cloud-comedian-central-minnesota-entertainment-comedy//
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House of Comedy, Mall of America Bloomington, MN

COOL P HOST ADRIAN WASHINGTON AND K DUBB SAT  FEB 10TH

House of Comedy, Mall of America Bloomington, MN

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COMDEY IN THE TWIN CITIES

Sours: https://www.baddiescomedy.com/
Episode 70 - Adrian \u0026 Mother Washington

Adrian Washington: Carving out a St. Cloud comedy career with 'quick wit' and a big heart

Comedian Adrian Peterson is pictured Wednesday, Oct. 31, in St. Cloud.

ST. CLOUD — Adrian Washington's kids frequently have to remind him that not everything is a joke.

"I'm like 'Well, jokes feed you!' " Washington said with an easy laugh.

The 42-year-old comedian and father of three took naturally to comedy from a young age. Now, he's made a name for himself both locally and in national circles as an off-the-cuff funnyman and comic promoter.

Growing up the class clown

Before he was sharing the stage with the likes of Steve-O ("Jackass") and Donnell Rawlings ("Chapelle's Show"), Washington was just a kid from Greenville, Mississippi who had a reputation as a class clown.

Washington and his family moved to St. Cloud in 1989, after spending a few years in a "violent" neighborhood of Minneapolis.

"When we moved to Minnesota, we didn't know anything about it," he said. "We knew three things: We knew we had cousins here, we knew it got cold, and we knew Prince lived here."

MORE: Veterans Day 2018 marks Armistice Day centennial

Washington bounced from school to school and even, briefly, back to Mississippi before being expelled in his junior year. When he moved back to St. Cloud, he finished high school in an alternative learning center.

Washington entered early adulthood as more than just a Class of 1995 Apollo High School graduate.  He emerged as a father; his son Marquel came into the world when Washington himself was only 19. He emerged as a comic, too, even if he didn't quite know it yet.

"I always was a class clown," he said. "I didn't even know I was cracking jokes, but my old teachers and people who knew me forever, they were like, 'Dude, you've been doing this for a long time.' "

Initially, Washington started in the business simply because he loved to make people laugh.

"I started at 1st Street Station in 2004. I was sitting at the bar by myself and I could hear the comic, but I couldn't hear people laughing," he said. "I thought to myself, 'I could at least do better than that.' "

Washington worked hard to spin his humble start at that five-minute guest spot into a 15-year career. He's performed locally at the Red Carpet for over 10 of those years.

"Feb. 24, 2019 will make 15 years," he said. "And I was just able to quit my job in December 2018. Now, (comedy) is how I make a living; it's how I feed my family."

Local comedian Adrian Washington smiles Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, outside the Red Carpet Nightclub in St. Cloud.

Family, funny business & philanthropy

Washington's wife, Laura, and his children have inspired him to give back to the St. Cloud community as much as he can.

Washington described his 11-year-old son, Masyn, as having recently been diagnosed with "high-functioning" autism.

"That hit me close to the heart," Washington said. "So now I give the Autism Society of Minnesota a portion of the proceeds from my shows, from the sale of T-shirts and DVDs."

In April, which is Autism Awareness Month, Washington set up a GoFundMe campaign for a project he called "Avengers for Autism," raising money to rent out a theater at Marcus Parkwood 18. 

Thanks to Washington's efforts, about 50 children with autism, developmental disabilities and other behavioral disorders, as well as their parents or caretakers, settled in to watch "Avengers: Age of Ultron" in a sensory-friendly environment.

"They could run around, they could talk, they could just enjoy seeing a movie surrounded by people who really get it," Washington said. "It was dope to see all those kids in there just having fun."

Washington's big heart and his love of people extends beyond his family, and even beyond the typical comic-audience dynamic.

After being contacted by the therapist of a fan who had recently attempted suicide, Washington said he decided to make a trip to CentraCare. He sat with the man for nearly two hours, talking and laughing, and even gave the man a guest spot in two of his shows.

"And he nailed it!" Washington said. "He was thanking me, and I just said, 'You know, if this gives you something to look forward to, and I'm in the position to let you do it, I'd be a fool not to.' "

MORE: Nearly $1 million grant will help fund mental health services in Central Minnesota

Taking the (1)mic and more 

Washington draws inspiration from the comedians of his youth. He cites Richard Pryor as a major influence, and even has the legendary comedian tattooed on his left arm. He also said he's regularly in awe of the caliber of comedians with whom he has shared the stage.

"It's insane, to be riding in your car with people you grew up watching," he said.

Washington's material is decidedly not family-friendly.It is also never part of a pre-written set.

That's right — his performances are 100 percent improvised on the spot, despite never taking a single improv class.

"I remember about 12 years ago, someone booked me for a New Year's Eve show. I did a 45-minute set and I hadn't written down a word of it. I stepped off stage and ... Man, if I could go back in time and see that smile on my face. I knew I didn't have to write anything ever again," Washington reminisced.

"I take what the crowd gives me. ... I'm very quick-witted, and I've been doing it long enough that it just comes naturally to me. I don't know how to say the same thing twice," he said. "What if I had a set in my head, and I went up there and it wasn't working? Do you stick to the set and it sucks, or do you switch it up?"

"Switching it up" is a good way to describe the comedian's entry into the business world with his entertainment company, 1Mic Entertainment.

Under the 1Mic umbrella, Washington both performs ("'1Mic' because as a comic, one mic is all I ever need. And, you know, there's only '1-Mi,' " he adds with a sly grin) and books other comics to perform in St. Cloud and other locales.

"I want it to be a household name, where if it's a 1Mic show, people know what they're gonna get," Washington said.

"The big shows, they're not even about me. ... But the great thing about my audience is almost everyone else is a bonus," he explained.

"I always say, I ain't got fans, I have family. I've known so many people for so long. They come to see me, and their attitude is, 'If someone else happens to be funny and they're there, we'll laugh at them too!' "

Comedian Adrian Washington poses with his custom license plates Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2018, in downtown St. Cloud.

St. Cloud's comedy star 

All of Washington's personal and professional pursuits paint a portrait of a true self-made man.

But why do it all in St. Cloud, a place Washington is the first to describe as "a small town nobody's ever heard of"?

"It's home," Washington said simply. "It's my community. ... I try to do everything I can to keep it a good community, to bring entertainment here and keep our dollars here. For so many years I went to the (Twin) Cities for stuff, but people want entertainment here."

For the first time in the conversation, funnyman Adrian Washington is very, very serious.

"Here, I'm somebody. ... I love doing it around here because this is what made me. Minneapolis didn't make me, St. Cloud did. That's one of my biggest joys, putting it on in my own backyard," he said.

"Plus," he added, breaking into a cocky grin, "if I do it here, my friends don't have an excuse not to come!"

Follow Alyssa Zaczek on Twitter: @sctimesalyssa, email her at [email protected], or call her at (320) 255-8761.

Read more:

New businesses developing on Division Street

Pacific Wok closes downtown St. Cloud location

Sours: https://www.sctimes.com/story/entertainment/2018/11/07/adrian-washington-st-cloud-comedian-central-minnesota-entertainment-comedy/1836806002/

Comedian adrian washington

Comedian Samuel Comroe to perform at Red Carpet Sept. after July shows postponed

View more inSaint Cloud, MN

St. Cloud Times

 27 days ago

After two July appearances in St. Cloud were postponed, comedian Samuel Comroe will perform at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Sept. at the Red Carpet Nightclub. The show will be hosted by St. Cloud-based comedian and promoter Adrian Washington, through his production company 1Mic Entertainment. The July shows were postponed due to low ticket sales during the summer, according to Washington.

www.sctimes.com
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When the Comedy Gods Send You a Gift

Comedian Adrian Washington puts St. Cloud (and himself) on the comedy map

Adrian Washington is putting St. Cloud on Minnesota's comedy map // Photo courtesy Adrian Washington

Adrian Washington is putting St. Cloud on Minnesota&#;s comedy map // Photo courtesy Adrian Washington

Adrian Washington’s start in stand-up comedy was less than ordinary.

While some aspiring comics are scratching and clawing their way for a few brief minutes of stage time at a local open mic, Washington managed to talk his way onto the stage.

“I remember one night I was at First Street Station in St. Cloud, not even in the comedy club part but sitting over on the other side of the bar,” Washington recalls. “I could hear the comic but I didn’t hear anyone laughing. I thought, ‘That dude is getting paid for that and nobody is laughing. I could at least do what he’s doing, if not better.”

Washington had always considered himself funny and had a knack for making people laugh. Though he says he was always open to opportunity, he never took the idea of doing stand-up too seriously, especially growing up in St. Cloud.

“It was an easy way to meet girls,” he laughs.

Washington knew the bar manager on duty that night and inquired about getting involved with their stand-up scene.

“He told me that they were going to lose their emcee in a couple of weeks because he was going back to school, so they invited me to come back and take over after he was gone,” Washington says. “A couple of weeks later, I go in and they tell me, ‘I’m sorry but the emcee isn’t going back after all, but we can give you a guest spot.’ I had no clue what a guest spot was at that point, but I figured it was either shit or get off the pot so I got up and did it.”

Washington was hooked. He went back to the bar and got on stage every month for the next six months, bringing in new fans and beginning to develop a following locally.

“I started to realize that I was bringing in all of these people and I wasn’t getting a dime,” Washington recalls. “So I decided to start putting together my own shows instead.”

As any comedy club owner or show producer can attest, putting on an event is no easy feat. And being both a producer and a performer is even harder. But to his advantage, Washington was blissfully unaware of the challenges facing him and powered forward in creating a show of his own.

“I ran around town scouting American Legions and hotel ballrooms that could fit like or people. I didn’t have any idea what I was doing, but I knew there was potential. The biggest thing for me was that I knew if I wanted to perform and make any money, I was going to have to do it myself.”

After a few successful shows in St. Cloud, Washington decided to check out the Minneapolis comedy scene, starting with the most notable club in town—Acme Comedy Company.

“I started coming down to the Cities and I  got on stage at Acme’s open mic. I was well-received by the crowd, but it was only three minutes,” Washington says. “I pulled a manager to the side that night and explained that I was driving all the way from St. Cloud, and if I could only make it down once a month, could he make sure I get up on stage? He told me, no, because there were so many people trying to get stage time. But I didn’t let myself get bitter; I just got better.”

Not only did he get better as a performer, but Washington took a town that wasn’t exactly on the radar for comics and made it into a place where people could see amazing comedy from both local and national acts.

“I’d make friends in the Cities with other comics and I’d bring them up here to perform. I also started putting on big shows at the Convention Center,” he says. “I brought in Donnell Rawlings, Steve-O, Gary Owen. It was just a lot of fun and it was allowing me to also perform with these people [while] building my own fanbase.”

Washington had managed to do something very few other comics in Minnesota had been able to achieve. Instead of working at making himself a part of the Minneapolis comedy scene, he had made the Minneapolis scene a part of his.

Now 15 years into his comedy career, he still produces a monthly show in St. Cloud at the Red Carpet Nightclub, under his own 1 Mic Entertainment imprint, and continues to headline the Steel Toe Comedy shows across central Minnesota. He’s also managed to find his footing in the Twin Cities, as a regular at House of Comedy inside of Mall of America and a regular show at The Pourhouse in Minneapolis. Outside of stand-up, he started a podcast three months ago called “Comedy & Kinfolk.”

Adrian Washington on stage // Photo courtesy Adrian Washington

Adrian Washington on stage // Photo courtesy Adrian Washington

In addition to his local success, Washington has managed to find his way to performing in other parts of the country, creating new relationships and finding new fans everywhere he goes.

“I was just out in Las Vegas for some shows; I go out to LA, and I love it. I love every second that I’m on stage,” he says. “But I also know that these people don’t know me, so it’s my job to make them remember me. I want to make sure that the next time they hear about me, even if it’s three or four months later, they’re thinking, ‘That’s that dude from Minnesota! We got to check him out!’”

With a natural ability to connect with any audience, and a work ethic that dwarfs the majority of his comedy peers, it’s not too far fetched to assume that Washington would want to leave his native St. Cloud in search of bigger stages or greater opportunities. But to Washington, there’s no place like home.

“Sometimes I’ll think about what would happen if I was in a bigger scene,” he says. “And I think to myself, ‘The sky would be the limit.’ But then I take a step back and realize that I love it here [in St. Cloud] because this is where I built my comedy from the ground up. When someone tells my story, I want them to talk about how I did it right here at home, and didn’t have to depend on anyone else.”

Adrian Washington will be opening up for comedian Chris Distefano at Bloomington’s House of Comedy from November 21–23; show times and ticket information can be found here.

Sours: https://www.growlermag.com/comedian-adrian-washington-puts-st-cloud-and-himself-on-the-comedy-map/

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