What: Bliss & Weinstein
When: 8 p.m., Thursday; 8 p.m. and 10:30 p.m., Friday and SaturdayWhere: Acme Comedy Club, 708 N. First St., Minneapolis
Playing a series of one-nighters around Wisconsin nearly 20 years ago — deemed the cheese curd tour — Chris Bliss met fellow comedian J. Elvis Weinstein.
Despite an age difference of 18 years, they immediately hit it off, and their chemistry manifests itself on stage this week at Acme.
“[Our friendship] really did take root that week,” Weinstein said. “We basically met when I picked him up.”
“I got in this car with this 18 year-old guy who was so sharp,” Bliss said. “We had a blast.”
At the time, Weinstein was a comic wunderkind, known for his writing for “Mystery Science Theater 3000” and occasional voicing of Tom Servo, one of the snarky commentators.
Bliss was a juggler seeking to expand his performing horizons in comedy after opening as a specialty act for Michael Jackson in the ’80s.
It’s the 10th time performing as a duo over the past decade, evolving from trading 10 minute sets to a show with both of them on stage the whole time.
“[It started from] my own cowardice,” Weinstein said. “I had been away from standup for a long time and wanted to come back, but I didn’t have the confidence. I had the material, but I didn’t have my stage legs.”
“I was working the club, and [Weinstein] wanted to do more standup,” Bliss said. “He was riding the old man’s coattails — that’s what it was. He wanted part of my check.”
Now, Bliss continues his standup career and recently gave a TED Talk on the role of comedy as an effective communicative tool.
Weinstein wrote for “America’s Funniest Home Videos,” “Cinematic Titanic” and cult favorite “Freaks and Geeks.”
The pair’s unique act is a combination of their respective standup, improvisation, roasting of each other and a musical finale involving Weinstein singing to Fatboy Slim while Bliss juggles. It’s a talent Bliss garnered internet fame for after a video surfaced of him juggling to the Beatles.
“The audience can have a hard time — the gear shift at the end is pretty radical,” Bliss said.
“Performing together gives us and the audience a safety net,” Weinstein said. “If the audience isn’t into something. … Even when you’re doing your own show, there are natural breaks.”
Despite the somewhat tacky appeal of juggling, the pair’s comedy is the most prominent aspect of the show and has an edge that one would not associate with family friendly.