He’s had audiences rolling on the floor laughing their heads off – OK, not literally, but you get the idea: Scott Hansen is one funny guy.
For the past 40 years, he’s been cracking jokes, helping people see the funnier side of life as a stand-up comedian.
Hansen has won five Minnesota Comedian of the Year awards. He has appeared on HBO, Showtime, Comedy Central and A&E, and he’s known for his sharp audience interaction and “hit and run” style of comedy, which pokes fun at the Minnesota situation.
Born in Milwaukee, Hansen grew up in Ham Lake, graduated from Totino-Grace High School, started professional stand-up in 1977, created Comedy Gallery Premiere at Moe’s Supper Club in Mounds View in 1982 and has been going strong for nearly four decades.
He’s rubbed elbows with the likes of Jay Leno and Louie Anderson, who have given him high praises, posted on Hansen’s website.
“Scott Hansen is a great Minnesota natural resource, a great comic and a friend. Scott is one of the funniest and most professional comedians working today,” Anderson said.
And Leno gave this comment: “I think he’s very funny. And I enjoy working with him. Usually I don’t say that about other comedians. … Plus, he’s funny all the time.”
It’s been a great ride, but Hansen’s ready to get off the stage and devote his energy to some of his other comic pursuits.
“Comedy Gallery is still going, and I’ll continue teaching and coaching comics, but I’ve got some pretty serious health issues going on – arthritis in my spine and in my neck – so it’s time for me to step down,” Hansen said last week.
Plans for Hansen’s “sit-down comedy” include getting his first children’s book published, working on a reality show he created and shooting a television comedy he wrote.
The comedian’s children’s book project is something he calls, “What Do You Do With Invisible Stu.”
It’s the story of two kids’ exploration of their imagination and creativity when they are visited by an invisible playmate – a story inspired by Hansen’s own childhood experience.
“My mother was very ill when I was young,” he said. “I had three older sisters who tried to care for me, but I had lots of time alone, so I invented an invisible friend named Fred. He became a loyal playmate, confidante and the person responsible for all my mischief.”
The story’s been told, the book’s been written and Hansen is currently working with artists to illustrate the book.
Hansen’s reality show pilot is scheduled to begin shooting this summer, according to Hansen’s publicist, Martin Keller.
The working title of the pilot is “Comics Playing Poker” and features comedians with national credits on the “Tonight Show” and “Comedy Central’ involved in a viral poker game in a friend’s basement.
Leo Benvenuti, the co-writer of the movies “The Santa Clause,” “Space Jam” and “Kicking and Screaming” and TV shows “Roseanne” and “The Dennis Miller Show,” is in place to direct “Robbie,” a sitcom pilot created by and written by Hansen. Shooting is set to begin this fall.
“I’ve got a lot up my sleeve,” Hansen said.
“It’s been a lot of fun. I love getting the response from the audience. Making people laugh is the closest thing to a high I’ve ever had,” he said. “There’s more fun coming, but I’ll miss that immediate reward – laughter is such a positive response. I’ll miss that.”
And you can bet the retiring stand-up comedian won’t sit still for long.
Sue Austreng is at [email protected]