Comedy in Duluth

Dubh Linn’s Saturday Night Comedy: The best bet in town.

Andrew Olson

Reader Weekly

Is anyone else looking for something of substance to do on a Saturday night that has a pinch of culture and a ton of entertainment?

Look no further than Dubh Linn’s on Superior Street and their national headlining comedians that are the hidden gem of Duluth.

“I am more than pleased with the quality of comedians we have been getting,” Mike Maxim, owner of Dubh Linn’s said. “John Yoder out of Michigan books the performers and Duluth happens to come at the end of their tour. So we end up getting the people that performed on Comedy Central, Saturday Night Live, and huge Las Vegas stages. My number one thing, though, is to focus on delivering top notch talent to the area.”

The barometer for great comedy in Minnesota if you grew up in the Twin Cities was Acme Comedy Club in the Warehouse District. $10 at the door, downstairs, and an extremely intimate setting always made for the best comedy shows. Maxim has created a similar feel using a party room with people sitting knit in a dimly lit room.

Headlining Comedian and recent performer on the Tonight Show Jim Wiggin’s liked the feel of Dubh Linn’s as well.

“The venue is terrific,” Wiggins said. “Almost a small concert hall!”

Wiggins, who is known as the “Last Hippie in America” and recently performed on the Tonight Show, also has a connection to both Duluth and comedic sage George Carlin.

“I love Duluth as my Grandfather came there from Russia in 1905, I feel a bond,” Wiggins said. “Carlin and I go so far back; he is godfather to my 32 year old son, Josh!”

Johnny O, another national comedian who performed, liked our little chilly town too.

“It was great,” Johnny said. “Too bad it was so cold… I guess it’s not so bad if you live there… I ran into a guy wearing shorts and flip flops on Sunday, no joke.”

Maxim, who has been running Dubh Linn’s for over a year and a half, is finally seeing a payoff to having the comedy nights. Over the summer he experimented with having two shows an evening, one at 8 pm and one at 10 pm. The shows were half full so he combined them into one 9 pm show that has had as many as 90 to 100 people.

“We have been doing comedy for about 9 months now,” Maxim said. “We started in late spring and lost money all summer long, but we were getting ready for fall. Now at shows we usually end up having standing room only by the time the performance begins.”

Talk around town centers on retaining young professionals in the area. While going to watch bands is great, sometimes when people get in their mid-twenties and older that scene can become redundant. Comedy at Dubh Linn’s offers another option and a very entertaining evening for just $10. With the talent level of the comedians performing that price is a steal.

This New Year’s Eve Dubh Linn’s has a semi-formal event planned. Semi –formal is a rare thing in this town, and people will be turned away if they don’t dress right.

From 8 to 9 pm there will be hors d’oeuvres from Lakeview Castle being served, and then at 9 pm John Peterman begins his comedic performance. Following him is the famous funny hypnotist Dennis Marthaler, and maybe a sleepy evening for some in attendance.

At 10:30 pm the entire club will be opened as a dance floor and at midnight there will be a free champagne toast. The price is $20, but that also enters you into the Barker’s Island romantic giveaway at 1:30 am.

The comedy show last Saturday was extremely impressive and gave me high hopes for the entertainment sector of Duluth. The show opened with a performer from the open-mic night that happens at 8pm on the first and third Mondays of the month. He warmed the crowd up before Johnny O took the stage.

Johnny O was extremely funny and included the audience into his set. So if you are shy, try not to sit in the first few rows.

He asked the audience at one point to raise their hands if they were married. A young man in the front row raised his hand and Johnny O asked him why he got married. The audience member responded that he “gave up.” This brought out quite the chuckle from the crowd.

It turned out that they had only been married a few weeks, but after hearing this poor guy get the treatment for that answer when Johnny O asked me the same thing I knew with my wife sitting next to me that the proper answer was, “love.”

Sappy as it may be, I am the kind of guy who likes to sleep in doors.

The Last Hippie in America, Jim Wiggins, closed the show and was one of the best comedians I have ever seen. He carries a cane and has long, stringy, white hair. His raspy delivery and choice of material was the pinnacle of an excellent evening.

He talked about being a senior citizen and an old man. He said that now he can flirt with any woman and they just laugh… and then call security. When he went to the doctor recently he was told that he needed to quit smoking and drinking, he responded that he is an American and therefore no quitter.

You can listen to his performance on the tonight show and learn more about him at You can also get more information about Dubh Linn’s comedy night and their New Year’s Eve show at

So try something different, you won’t be disappointed… And remember that clip-on tie for New Year’s Eve, it should be quite the bash.