The creators of the Locally Grown sketch show want to make you laugh!

Chicago has The Second City. New York has Saturday Night Live. And in Minneapolis, Brittany Parker’s working to make “Locally Grown Comedy” our hometown sketch comedy show. Parker, who is the writer, producer and creator behind the “filmed comedy and musical sketch show” speaks with guest host Tim Nelson about her work and her upcoming Oct. 3 show.

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Audio transcript

TIM NELSON: And this is Minnesota Now. I'm Tim Nelson.

Chicago has The Second City. New York has Saturday Night Live. And in Minneapolis, Brittany Parker is betting on Locally Grown Comedy. Parker is the writer, producer and creator behind the "filmed comedy and musical sketch show," as she calls it.

Welcome to Minnesota Now, Britney. So tell me a little bit. I think-- I understand, back in high school in Apple Valley, you were voted the most likely to be on Saturday Night Live. Were you one of those people already performing all over the place?

BRITTANY PARKER: Oh, I would love to say that I was shy and this came out of nowhere, but I've been doing professional theater since I was about nine. I attended Eastview High School in Apple Valley. And my best friend Scott and I were voted most likely to be on Saturday Night Live, which, while going towards the stage to get that award, we both tripped over something, which just classic physical humor right there. [LAUGHS]

TIM NELSON: And obviously, doing a lot of things. What got you going on sketch comedy?

BRITTANY PARKER: Yes. So I've been very active in the arts scene here in Minneapolis and nationally. So I've done stand up comedy and improv, musical theater, film, and I've just really enjoyed comedy-based arts. Sketch comedy has always been something I've been very interested in as a writer and comedian. Involving other people from the arts community to make these skits and these sketches has been a passion of mine and I've finally sort of put into fruition.

TIM NELSON: Excellent. You're a Minnesotan. As you said, went to high school in Apple Valley. You went to college in Duluth. I understand you've done all kinds of things, stand-up, musical theater, film, and also working at a Minneapolis casting agency. Does your day job have any comedy?

BRITTANY PARKER: So it's so funny that you say that because I actually am a part-time casting associate with one of the best ladies in town. Her name is Lynn Blumenthal. A year ago, a different writing partner and I created a pilot called Breakdowns, which was actually about working in the casting office and all of the shenanigans we ensue and are a part of there. So pretty much on the daily, there's got to be something that gets us laughing, whether it's an email sent to the incorrect person. Or an actor sends an audition tape that they haven't quite edited out correctly and you see them cursing or something during an audition, that just recently happened to us. So it's got its own comedy, for sure.

TIM NELSON: A steady stream of characters, I guess, right?

BRITTANY PARKER: Absolutely. And I've been lucky enough to meet a lot of them and have infused them into Locally Grown, which is my sketch comedy company.

TIM NELSON: And what inspired that? What got you started on Locally Grown?

BRITTANY PARKER: Well, you know, I have been lucky enough to play in a lot of the different arts outlets that Minneapolis has, whether it's music or improv or stand-up or theater, film. And I meet so many wonderful people that for some reason haven't been able to play with the other performers or artists in other realms, and I wanted to be that catalyst. I wanted to be that platform that got to meld everybody together and really showcase what Minnesota, specifically Minneapolis, has. I've also been working in other cities, Chicago, LA, New York, and they-- some people seem to be a little surprised by how many incredible arts outlets we have in Minnesota. So I wanted to create a platform that showed that off, whether it was behind the scenes or in front. But I wanted to let the whole world know that Minnesota has just a lot of talent and a lot of opportunities.

TIM NELSON: So what is this-- what's this look like? Like I said, it's a filmed comedy musical sketch show. What is that, like Saturday Night Live? How does it operate?

BRITTANY PARKER: Sure. It's Saturday Night Live, but it's pretty much weekly every night live. [LAUGHS] We upload a lot of content on Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, Facebook. We shoot one weekend every six to seven weeks.

During that weekend, we film about five to six sketches, along with a musical guest. We've had Kat Perkins from The Voice, who was our first musical guest. Gabriel Douglas from Four on the Floor. We just had Annie Enneking from Annie and the Bang Bang, and will be on our episode three.

So we film these sketches and then we put them on our platform. We usually release one a week. And we just-- again, we're just trying to get people to see all the talent and all the humor that we have in Minnesota. So you can find us on Instagram or Facebook or TikTok or YouTube. And each platform also has different content. So we have the sketches and musical guests on all of the content, but we also have an on set photographer and we have social media people that help us do TikToks and it's really fun.

TIM NELSON: You talk a little bit about that on your web site, that sort of rotating cast and crew from the Twin Cities.

BRITTANY PARKER: Mhm.

TIM NELSON: All these diverse creators. Also says you're a female-led company. Tell me about how that impacts the writing and the feel of the show?

BRITTANY PARKER: Well, it's-- you know, one of the things that I've noticed being able to be in a lot of the different outlets that Minnesota offers, stand-up, improv, theater, and film, et cetera, is we do tend to have a lot of male-identifying producers and writers. Which has produced, you know, wonderful art, but I'm just now getting to see more female-identifying and nonbinary creators suddenly come out into the field, which is awesome. So for us, it allows us to talk about a wide range of things and not just through the scope of someone who's male-identifying.

So we have female writers. We have non-binary actors. We have a diverse crew and cast, whether that means diverse in abilities or age or body type or gender or sexual orientation. And so because of that, it allows us to not only talk about all these things, but it allows us to reach these audiences that maybe don't see themselves in comedy very often.

TIM NELSON: And can you keep this going in the Twin Cities? I mean, it's-- you know, the bright lights and big city often beckon.

BRITTANY PARKER: Sure. Sure. Well, I have worked in other cities, but I tend to keep coming back to Minnesota just because we have-- we just have a lot here. And we also have the ability to live by a lake and explore the city and not just, you know, have to work to survive. We're able to work and enjoy the many things that Minnesota offers, whether it's restaurants or outdoors or whatever.

And so I'm hoping to stay here right now. We have two episodes completely out with all of our sketches. We're about to release episode three. We're about to shoot episode four in November. We've just partnered with a smaller production company, who will be backing us for the next two episodes. So people are slowly but surely interested in us and like that we're keeping things homegrown, locally grown, if you will.

TIM NELSON: And live, right? I think you've got an event coming up October 3rd at the Parkway?

BRITTANY PARKER: We do, yeah. We have an event on October 3rd at Parkway Theater in Minneapolis. Doors open at 7:00. We start at 7:30. We have local rapper Tuvok the Word, who's performed with another local rapper named Nur-D. Tuvok will be performing the theme song he wrote for Locally Grown.

We'll be showing some sketches, some that we've released, some that we haven't. We'll do a Q&A. It'll be a bar and food and raffle. Should be a good time.

TIM NELSON: It sounds like a great time. Well, thanks so much, Brittany. Brittany Parker is the writer, producer and creator behind Locally Grown Comedy. The Parkway Theater event, as she said, is Monday October 3rd 7:30 to 10:00 PM at the Parkway Theater. You can find out more at locallygrowncomedy.com.

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