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Courtney’s provides laughs to Fargo for 20 years

ANDREW JASON - jasonan@mnstate.edu

A guy walks into a bar and orders a beer. The bartender gives the man a drink, and he walks down a long hallway into a room full of murals of famous comedians. He then sits down and listens to a comedian while eating free pretzels and being served drinks.

Sorry, there’s no punch-line to this joke. In fact, it’s not even a joke — this is what one experiences when they visit Courtney’s Comedy Club.

Courtney’s has been bringing laughs to Fargo/Moorhead for 20 years now. It has gone through some renovations and even been located in the Old Broadway and Playmaker’s for a while but throughout the years, Courtney’s has remained. The set up of the room has helped Courtney’s remain successful.

“The room is set up perfectly for comedy. … In here the laughs are contagious,” said Matthew Lumpkin from the comedy duo Saints and Sinners, who performed at Courtney’s last weekend.

Courtney’s originally opened in March 1992 with only two shows. It now offers five shows a week. Its name comes from the owner’s daughter. Throughout the years, Courtney’s has garnered an impressive following.

Throughout the years, comedians such as Mitch Hedberg, Louie Anderson, Rick Rockwell and Dustin Diamond have appeared at Courtney’s.

“We like to bring in new acts,” director Tina Jones said. “We try not to have comedians back more than once a year.”

“We enjoy bringing in newer acts that become club favorites,” worker Michael Gustafson said. “We have our all time favorites, Jay Window Walker, some of them that come four-five years in a row. It’s nice to bring in new guys and all of a sudden they end up with a following. It’s good to have all favorites to mix in with the new.”

Saints and Sinners members, Lumpkin and Patrick Jolle explained that Courtney’s isn’t just a place for laughs but is also a great place for a first date for many different reasons.

• You find out the other
person’s sense of humor.

• It’s something new. Dinner
and movies are old and boring.

• They don’t serve alcohol at

• It’s important to get a girl
laughing on the first date, and
the comics can do that.

• Comedians are rarely better
looking than you.

Courtney’s lends itself to romance so much that last year there was a marriage proposal in the club.

Traveling comedians aren’t the only ones to perform in Courtney’s though. Every Wednesday is open-mic night. Anybody is allowed to perform. It’s a great way for hopeful comics to get experience performing in front of a live audience. Jones said that many local comics garner a loyal following.

Jolle explained that reaching 20 years is an accomplishment for any Comedy Club. It is especially an accomplishment for a comedy club in a community the size of Fargo/Moorhead to remain open. Jones said she would like to express her gratitude to the community for the last 20 years.

“We’d like to thank the community for supporting us for 20 years,” Jones said. “It’s huge to be here for 20 years and have the support. We have a lot of regulars who come here every week and the new people that come love it and become regulars.”

Courtney’s is located inside the American Inn at 600 30 Ave. S., Moorhead. It can be reached at 218.287.7100, and its website is courtneyscomedyclub.com.


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