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Laughter comes to the Holmes Theatre

Detroit Lakes' Historic Holmes Theatre hosts an evening of "The Comedy of Scott Novotny" at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 11.

Novotny, a Minnesota native, moved with his wife and two children to New Richmond, Wis., several years ago, to give his family a taste of small-town life.

And it is that small-town life that provides fodder for much of his stand-up comedy.

"Comedy is such a wonderful thing to be able to do for a living," he says. "I feel blessed."

Unlike many of his counterparts, however, Novotny likes to keep his comedy family-friendly.

"I do a very clean comedy show," he says. "That seems to be a very tough thing for comedians to do -- a lot of them rely on swearing and sexual innuendo."

Instead of that, Novotny says, "I goof a lot on the fact that we're from the Midwest. I have a son who is 15 and a daughter who is 6 -- they're wonderful writers for my comedy show, whether they know it or not."

But Novotny also relies on material garnered from his travels throughout the Midwest, where a large portion of the work he does now is for corporate events and parties.

Some of the places he visits provide pretty rich comic fodder, simply by virtue of their existence. For instance: "I visited the Spam Museum in Austin, Minn.," he says. "It's a building dedicated entirely to the history of Spam.

"Mine is a show that you can bring grandma and grandpa to -- and kids really seem to like my show as well," he says, adding that he draws his inspiration from the ancient Greek definition of comedy: "Life with hope." (Tragedy, by contrast, is "life without hope.")

Though stand-up comedy has become his mainstay in recent years, Novotny also plans to take advantage of the opportunity to perform in a real theater this week.

"I graduated from Gustavus Adolphus College (in St. Peter, Minn.) with a degree in theater," he says. "I love performing in a theater -- I'm really excited about being in a theatrical setting again."

His show at the Holmes Theatre will, as a consequence, include "jumping in and out of some different characters and using my theatrical ability a little more," Novotny says.

"It will be a 75-80 minute show."

Novotny is a firm believer in the concept of laughing until it hurts -- literally.

"If people are in a little bit of pain (from laughing) when they leave my show, I know I've done my job," he says. "Laughter really is very needed therapy... the older you get, the more you know about the world, the more stressful it gets. Sometimes it's good to have that little oasis and get away (from the stress) for a while.

"Laughter is important. We really need those moments where we just feel giddy about being a human being."

Tickets for Scott Novotny's Jan. 11 show can be ordered by phone at 218-847-SHOW (7469), online at the Web site, or at the Holmes Theatre Box Office, 826 Summit Ave. (hours are 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Friday).

Vicki Gerdes

Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers for the past 16 years, currently editor of the entertainment and community pages as well as covering city council and the Lake Park-Audubon School Board. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.

(218) 844-1454