MINNEAPOLIS — Unable to contain his excitement, Bruce Pendleton, 36, was overheard explaining his favorite premise to a friend as he patiently waited for his name to be called at a Minneapolis open mic.
“So I take the stage, right? Suspense is sky-high. I tell people I’m from here – and that’s when I hit them with the voice,” the father of two gushed, expertly gesturing towards the stage.
The voice in question, is, of course, the Minnesota accent. A kind of insider secret du jour about Minnesota, the accent is a cultural treat rarely referenced in local media. Pendleton’s act, which City Pages called the “tortured portrait of a linguistic genius,” has captured the zeitgeist of the city, deftly rearranging the audience’s pre-existing notion of what a Minnesota man can sound like.
“Most people have a cursory familiarity with the accent, sure,” explained Pendleton. “But I do the impression as my mom, and people go fucking nuts.”
Garrett Johnson, a truck driver who has accidentally caught Pendleton’s act multiple times over the past five years, added his thoughts from the perspective of an audience member. “We all know what the accent sounds like, so, like, when he says it, it’s like, that’s where I’m from! And he’s from there too! We’re from the same place! You get why that’s so funny to me?”
Pendleton added that he’s not exactly a one-trick pony. Two years ago, he wrote some new jokes about Wisconsin, especially the heavy drinking culture there. “That material – man. All I’ll say is alcohol’s influence on social interactions across the border is a rich, fertile ground that hasn’t been touched. I know it’s a bit of a taboo subject – but I’m the comic brave enough to go there.”