In 2009, Joshua and Levi created a staged spoof of the Hardy Boys books, The Harty Boys in The Case of the Limping Platypus. The show was a hit with kids and adults alike and was the top selling show at the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Inspired by the show’s success, Joshua and Levi formed Comedy Suitcase.
The Harty Boys In The Case of the Limping Platypus was written and directed by Joshua English Scrimshaw and Levi Weinhagen with original music by Marc Doty. The cast featured Sulia Altenberg, Leslie Ball, Ari Hoptman, Andy Kraft, Spencer Levin, Joshua English Scrimshaw and Levi Weinhagen. The Platypus costume was designed and created by Lisa Pramann.
Praise for The Harty Boys in the Case of the Limping Platypus:
“Rife with madcap fun and sharp wit” – mnartists.org
“These people know how to craft a good comedy show, and it shines through in everything they do. Very Highly Recommended.” – Twin Cities Daily Planet
“This loving and lovable riff on the Hardy Boys mysteries spoofs not only the books, but the Twin Cities and its landmarks as well (“We love the Minneapolis Institute of Art,” one brother gushes. “It’s just like the Walker only free and not so ugly!” The story is appropriately preposterous, the drama delightfully hokey and the big finale features an attack by an old guy dressed in a giant platypus outfit. In slow motion, of course. Good times.” – Pioneer Press
Comedy Suitcase is born!
In 2010, Joshua and Levi entered the Minnesota Fringe lottery but the ping pong balls didn’t go their way. They decided to bide their time and kick off their new company with a holiday themed Harty Boys show at the Bryant Lake Bowl Theater in Minneapolis. The show sold out its run and Joshua and Levi had the funny feeling they were onto something…
The Harty Boys Save Christmas was written by Joshua English Scrimshaw and Levi Weinhagen and directed by Shanan Custer. The cast featured Sulia Altenberg, Leslie Ball, Ari Hoptman, Matt Rein, Karen Weiss-Thompson, Joshua English Scrimshaw and Levi Weinhagen.
Praise for The Harty Boys Save Christmas
“The whole family will love it!” – Minneapolis St. Paul Magazine
“Five stars… A Santa’s bag of comedic riches.” – Examiner.com
“Told with a cartoonish quirkiness for the kids and a winking self-awareness for the adults, The Harty Boys Save Christmas is a rare holiday production that offers merriment for all ages—even if it means tangling with the diabolical forces of Santa Claus. Ultimately the question isn’t whether the Harty Boys can save Christmas but whether Christmas can be saved from the Harty Boys.” – City Pages
Comedy Suitcase kicks into high gear!
Five shows! And three of them didn’t even involve the Harty Boys! This was the year Comedy Suitcase tried a little of everything. It was also the debut of our now annual early bird New Year’s Eve show, Baby New Year’s Time Traveling Diaper Party. By the end of the year, City Pages declared Comedy Suitcase “The preferred choice for family friendly hysterics.”
Amateur Hour played at the Bryant Lake Bowl Theater in Minneapolis and featured Sulia Altenberg, Leslie Ball, Nancy Donoval, David Mann, Pablo, and Tim Uren with hosts Joshua English Scrimshaw and Levi Weinhagen.
Praise For Amateur Hour
Scrimshaw and Weinhagen have dared accomplished artists from a range of disciplines to revel in their greatest flops. Live critiques from a panel of kids and amateur artists either ease the pain of rejection or repeat the nightmarish ordeal. Either way, audiences are in for an irreverent reminder that no great art was ever achieved without a generous share of mockery. – City Pages
Praise for Michael Bay’s Super Mario Armageddon
“Take the biggest video game of all time, get the brilliant comedic minds of Comedy Suitcase to reimagine it directed by the biggest director of all time, and you’ve got a Midwestern, live-action version of something straight out of Tim & Eric, Awesome Show.” – Vita.mn
“If you ever wanted to see a “big budget” adaptation of the Super Mario Bros. video games not starring Bob Hoskins and John Leguizame, here is your chance.” – City Pages
Smothers Brothers Grimm was written by Shanan Custer, Joshua English Scrimshaw, Eric Webster and Levi Weinhagen. The cast featured all of the above plus Andrew Moy. Directed by Jim Robinson with music performed by Scott Keever. Smothers Brothers Grimm was performed as part of the 2011 Minnesota Fringe Festival.
Praise for the Smothers Brothers Grimm
“Subtly built and markedly free of schmaltz, the production deftly balances irreverently layered humor with a genuine affection for comedy as a coping mechanism. Such skillfully evoked emotional resonance elevates The Smothers Brothers Grimm into a triumph of heartfelt humor.” – examiner.com
“Eleven-year-old Andrew Moy is a show stealer, shining bright among a cast of some of the funniest performers in town.” – TC Daily Planet
The Harty Boys Save Christmas was written by Joshua English Scrimshaw and Levi Weinhagen and directed by Shanan Custer. The cast featured Sulia Altenberg, Leslie Ball, Ari Hoptman, Andy Kraft, Karen Weiss-Thompson, Joshua English Scrimshaw and Levi Weinhagen.
“On Sunday night at the Bryant-Lake
Bowl, the most magical moment in Comedy Suitcase’s The Harty Boys Save Christmas had nothing to do with presents or snow or mistletoe: it was when a young child laughed out loud, with a contagious giggle, at a punch line involving Ayn Rand. I can tell you how Santa gets down those chimneys, but I can’t tell you quite how Joshua English Scrimshaw and Levi Weinhagen pulled their magical feat off.”
-Twin Cities Daily Planet
Baby New Year’s Time Traveling Diaper Party was written and performed by Josh Carson, Joshua English Scrimshaw, Adrienne English Scrimshaw, Aaron and Miriam English Scrimshaw, Andy Kraft, Andrew Moy, Levi Weinhagen and Laura Zabel.
“Produced by Comedy Suitcase, the collaborative team of Joshua English Scrimshaw and Levi Weinhagen, this event showcases the specialized blend of slapstick high jinks, wacky wordplay, and heartfelt sentiment that has made the humorists a preferred choice for family-friendly hysterics.” – City Pages
This was the year Comedy Suitcase ventured into the world of podcasts. It’s also the year we drew both laughs and blood with our extremely last minute addition to the Minnesota Fringe Festival. Finally, we took a trip into the mind of Tim Uren and discovered… puppets!
“Levi Weinhagen, the non-Scrimshaw half of the Comedy Suitcase duo, became a dad, which was funny enough. Then he began a podcast, wanting to hear from other artistic parents. The free download is the anti-mom jeans of these kind of shows, with such guests as author John Jodzio, comedian Bill Corbett, and comic actress Shanan Custer who link art to parenting. If only parenthood were always this funny.” – Minnesota Monthly
“Comedy hurts. Well, physical comedy of the slapstick stripe, anyway. Joshua Scrimshaw
and Levi Weinhagen prove it in this clever, colorfully written comedy about a desperate-for-work actor trying to fill the slippery shoes of the recently deceased Captain Clumsy and keep his kid-targeted TV show alive.” – Pioneer Press
“Scrimshaw is fearless in his antics; he is both the Acme steamroller and Wile E. Coyote.” –Twin Cities Daily Planet
Christmas: Impossible merges comedy, holiday cheer, and the imminent chance of a Grinch-like Christmas morning on a worldwide scale…It also has plenty of “Let’s clean the barn and put on a show!” energy that puts a lot of the bigger-budget holiday productions to shame.” – City Pages
Baby New Year’s Time Traveling Diaper Party #2 was written and performed by Josh Carson, Joshua English Scrimshaw, Adrienne English Scrimshaw, Aaron and Miriam English Scrimshaw, Dan Hetzel, Andy Kraft, Andrew Moy, Levi Weinhagen and Laura Zabel.
“Celebrating New Year’s Eve can be a tricky endeavor if your bedtime is still enforced by parents. Fortunately, Comedy Suitcase has you covered with Baby New Year’s Time Traveling Diaper Party #2. The kid-friendly show — that entertains grownups as well — returns for a second year with skits, funny word play, and hijinks… All of the shenanigans should make ringing in the New Year fun, even if the clock hasn’t struck midnight yet!” – City Pages
This was the year Comedy Suitcase worked out while working out some emotional issues. We also made our first appearance at the Twin Cities Horror Fest with a brand new Harty Boys adventure and officially made our all ages new year’s eve show a tradition.
“The folks from Comedy Suitcase burning away the fat with high-impact humor!” – City Pages
“The highlight of the show for me was watching each man take center stage and deliver a monologue about his personal relationship with physical fitness (striding on a stair-stepper all the while, of course)… Each monologue was funny, sure, but they also dipped into deep wells of intimate, relatable humanity.” –mnplaylist.com
The Harty Boys In The Mystery of the Mall of America… of Death! was written and directed by Joshua English Scrimshaw and Levi Weinhagen and performed by Sulia Altenberg, Leslie Ball, Dan Hetzel, Ari Hoptman, Andy Kraft, Joshua English Scrimshaw and Levi Weinhagen.
“The third installment gives fans what they would expect: goofy physical humor, sarcastic asides about the Twin Cities, and an epic, slow-motion fight deep in the show… This family friendly production lends high spirited hysterics to the Halloween season.” – City Pages
“Best Bet: Laugh your way through this family-friendly show as the Boys leap headfirst into a mission to save their friends, parents, and the Mall of America from such sinister forces as evil clowns and deceptive marriage counselors.” – Minnesota Monthly
Baby New Year’s Time Traveling Diaper Party #3 was written and performed by Josh Carson, Joshua English Scrimshaw, Adrienne English Scrimshaw, Aaron and Miriam English Scrimshaw, Dan Hetzel, Andy Kraft, Andrew Moy, Levi Weinhagen and Laura Zabel.
“Who says you have to ring in the New Year at midnight? If you have kids, or are the type who can barely stay awake past 9 o’clock, then partying into the wee hours of the morning just isn’t going to happen… Thankfully, the folks at Comedy Suitcase will be ringing in 2014 two times well before bedtime. The family-friendly event will entertain kids and grownups alike with dance numbers, funny skits, and other shenanigans with hosts Joshua English
Scrimshaw and Levi Weinhagen and friends. Expect hilarity.” – City Pages
2015 – THE YEAR OF CLASSIC COMEDY!
In 2015, Comedy Suitcase brings you a season of shows inspired by classic comedy and comedians! February also sees the debut a companion podcast examing the work of our favorite 20th century comedians. Visit our New and Coming Soon page for more info!