In addition to the unique shopping experience, the entertainment at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival has been the starting point for many nationally known performers. Puke and Snot made their debut in 1974 under the names of “Mouldy and Wart”. The magic and comedy act of Penn and Teller got their start at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. Now The Danger Committee, who began as The Dew Drop Jugglers, has risen to the top and has been seen on America’s Got Talent!
Jason Mraz has worn many hats — San Diego surfer dude, pop music’s Mr. Sunshine, and one great pickle boy at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival– 1996 or ’97, he thinks. One college friends persuaded him to hang out in Chaska and Shakopee one summer and perform at the Renaissance Festival. “One of my friends is a veteran pickle boy; he’d probably done it a dozen years. He walked me right in, got me the gig and I learned from the best. ‘I’ll trade you my dill for a bill,'” said Mraz. who grew up in Virginia and attended a music and drama college in New York City. “It was a blast. It was extraordinary, such an immersive experience. You really get to go to a different time.”
Penn & Teller
Penn Jillette and Teller were introduced to one another by Wier Chrisimer, and performed their first show together at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival on August 19, 1975. From the late 1970s through 1981, Penn, Teller, and Chrisimer performed as a trio called “The Asparagus Valley Cultural Society” which played in San Francisco at the Phoenix Theater. Chrisimer helped to develop some bits that continued, most notably Teller’s “Shadows” trick, which involves a single red rose. The group disbanded in 1981 after Chrisimer quit show business, leaving Penn Jillette and Teller to work as a pair.
The two performed their first show together in August 1975. That means they’ve been together for 42 years in August.
Puke & Snot
Joe Kudla and Mark Sieve, the nationally recognized actors who originally created and played “Puke and Snot,” started appearing in the streets and paths at the Minnesota Renaissance Festival in 1973 under the names Mouldy & Wart. Their first shows were largely improvised fifteen minute encounters that often included unannounced appearances and spontaneous audience interactions. By 1975 they had changed their names to Puke and Snot and were joined at the Minnesota Festival by Penn and Teller. As the years passed, the audiences grew larger, the shows longer, and they had started appearing at festivals in Texas, Colorado, California, Florida and Maryland.
By 1981, the act had outgrown the streets and moved to the stages. Joe died unexpectedly in 2008, but John Gamoke assumed the mantle as “Snot Jr.” and performed admirably for ten years. The current Snot, Version 3.0, is Scott Jorgenson, and the show continues producing large laughs and larger crowds. Joe and Mark and John and Scott have recorded five CDs, two DVDs and two books over the 45 years of playing these men in tights, still providing hilarity and competent swordsmanship five times a day at the Legend Stage, and are the longest running comedy act in North American renaissance festival history.