Flop, sweat and tears

February 1, 2019

The performance was almost 20 years ago, but Dan Cole still remembers the room and the crowd at a comedy show he performed in Sauk Centre.

“Most of the guys were in camo,” Cole said.

Cole, also known as “The Common Man,” a radio show host on KFAN in the Twin Cities, occasionally performs live comedy. Radio recognition gives him an advantage and warms up most crowds before he even steps onstage.

“It’s almost a home field advantage,” Cole said. “I almost feel bad for other comics I’m with when I have this built-in audience.”

However, that wasn’t the case that night in the early 2000’s in Sauk Centre. He asked if anyone listened to his show. Not a hand in the venue went up.

“You deliver a line and there’s silence, and you deliver another line and it’s still dead quiet,” Cole said.

Cole has since performed in more venues than he can precisely remember. Many of those shows he has forgotten almost entirely.

Not the Sauk Centre show.

“There’s no forgetting when you just flop,” he said.

He thought he had 15 minutes of material.

“It was over in two minutes,” he said. “I was just covered in sweat.”

But Cole, undeterred, continued performing live shows.

He will perform at Marcus Theatre in Rochester Friday. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Cole is best known for his work from behind the mic. City Pages twice named him “Best Sports Radio Talk Host.” His show has been picked up in syndication around the region.

Despite that experience, Cole maintains a love for standup comedy. His brother Alex was a longtime standup comedian. When Cole was in college, his brother got him a job at the door of a comedy club.

“So I kind of grew up around it and saw a lot of it,” Cole said.

Watching his brother and other comedians, he gained a respect for the profession that was solidified with his experience in Sauk Centre.

“I really do believe standup is one of the harder performing arts you can be in,” Cole said.

Live theater actors, musicians and other performers don’t routinely get openly mocked at a bad performance, he noted.

Cole will be joined by fellow radio personality Paul Lambert, also known as “Meat Sauce,” and comedian Patrick Bauer, son of Minneapolis comedy legend Bill Bauer.

Bauer’s presence on the bill adds some legitimate standup comedy chops to the show, Cole said.

“People won’t say, ‘I didn’t get my money’s worth,’” Cole said.

Cole’s part of the show will be like a live version of his radio show, he said.

“The audience that knows me wants to hear the radio personality,” he said. “They want to hear the catchphrases and the cheap shots.”

Tickets are $20 and can be purchased online at cinemagrill.com.