Before the biggest gig of her career — a stand-up performance next month from the Rose Bowl parking lot — comedian Erica Rhodes needed to dust off the cobwebs; she hasn’t told jokes on stage for three months. But because all the major comedy clubs in Los Angeles have yet to re-open, the up-and-coming comic decided to get some practice in by hopping a flight to Minneapolis for four nights at Acme Comedy Co., making her the first national headliner to travel for Twin Cities shows since the pandemic struck.

“I don’t know if I remember how to do anything,” she said just before doing an 80-minute set Wednesday in front of roughly a dozen people.

Some rust was evident. At one point, she mixed up Benjamin Franklin with Thomas Edison. But most of the routine went over well, especially a polished bit about Taylor Swift’s self-indulgent documentary. After the show, a fan complimented her on a line about how we’re currently living in a period of “statues and statutes of limitations.” “Oh, good,” Rhodes said through a zebra-decorated face mask. “I just wrote that.”

The comedian, who has guest starred on “Modern Family” and “New Girl,” wasn’t raised in Minnesota but she’s got legitimate state credentials. She’s Garrison Keillor’s niece. By the age of 10, she was already making appearances on “Prairie Home Companion.”

Rhodes hadn’t completely stepped away from comedy over the past 12 weeks. Her streaming show, “The Night Light Show,” has featured some big names, including Uncle Garrison.

But there’s nothing like performing in front of a live audience.

“You guys all look so real, like real humans,” she said at the top of her set. “I’m used to staring at a screen.”

For her July performance in Pasadena, Rhodes will be staring at 400 parked cars.

Her set, which is being taped for an upcoming TV special, is part of the Tribeca Drive-In Festival, where patrons will assumedly show their appreciation by honking horns.

In the meantime, you can catch her at Acme through Saturday night. Many fans may remain apprehensive about attending local venues, but the weekend shows could easily sell out, especially since the club is limiting capacity to 75 people at at a time. You can also watch her, and all other Acme acts in the near future, through a live streaming feed. To make reservations or find out how you can enjoy the show from home, go to acmecomedycompany.com

 

@nealjustin