From left to right, Nick Swardson, Bryan Miller, Santa Claus and Fancy Ray McCloney/photo courtesy of Bryan Miller
Comedian Nick Swardson had no intention of getting on stage. He'd surprised audiences plenty of times during his three weeks back in the Twin Cities, popping up at a various venues including Acme Comedy Co., the club which gave him his start while he was still a teenager.
Swardson seemed more than content Tuesday simply indulging in cocktails at Minneapolis's Erik the Red bar, goofing around with owner Erik Forsberg, talking up his beloved Vikings and shaking hands with local comics who were participating in The Red Menace Christmas Comedy Special in the side room.
But three hours into the show, which also included a spirited appearance by Fancy Ray McCloney, host Bryan Miller cajoled the national headliner into joining the fun.
Swardson, who took the microphone around 11:15 p.m. shared new material, including a bit in which he moaned about how all charity events require physical exertion.
"Can't we nap for AIDS?" he asked while he continued to banter with a grinning Forsberg standing just beside the makeshift stage.
Swardson said afterwards he wasn't sure how long he'll stick around town -- or how many more times he'll "pop up," but he's got two Netflix movies in the can and will be featured in a new Netflix series, "Comedians of the World," which starts streaming Jan. 1.