The Twin Cities comedy scene has seen an emergence of comedians from immigrant backgrounds and diverse ethnicities over the past decade. 

Attracted by Minnesota’s expanding diversity, these comics offer fresh perspectives and narratives that challenge stereotypes while amplifying the voices of underrepresented communities.

Sahan Journal spoke with five comedians about their experiences in the Twin Cities comedy scene. They reflected on how their cultural backgrounds influence their comedic style, and emphasized the importance of diverse perspectives in comedy. They also shed light on the obstacles they encounter in the industry, including instances of tokenism, being the only person of color at open mic events, and the need to constantly prove themselves. 

They also expressed optimism for the future of comedy in the Twin Cities as they advocate for expanded opportunities for comedians from diverse backgrounds. 

  • Alicia Kismet Eler, a Turkish comedian, shares stories about her Turkish family and queer dating encounters. 
  • Abenezer Merdassa, who is originally from Ethiopia, navigates cultural differences between Ethiopia and America, and the everyday absurdities of life. 
  • Gabby OK is a queer Black female comedian who delves into her dating experiences and mental health. 
  • Comrade Tripp, a comedian of Black and Asian descent, incorporates mental health topics into his comedy. 
  • Aron Woldeslassie, an Eritrean comedian, explores his experiences as a child of immigrant parents and his observations on race, relationships, and life in Minnesota. 

Myah Goff is an intern at Sahan Journal, currently pursuing a journalism degree at the University of Minnesota.