Joseph Scrimshaw

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Joseph Scrimshaw
Scrimshaw presenting behind a music stand
Scrimshaw in 2012
Occupation(s)Writer, comedian

Joseph Scrimshaw is an American comedian and writer for radio, television and theater, whom City Pages, a Twin Cities newspaper, describes as having an "irreverent and insightful wit."[1] He is the author of a book of comic essays called Comedy of Doom and hosts a monthly podcast called Obsessed with Joseph Scrimshaw, where he and his guests discuss their obsessions. He performs across the country in a variety of venues, including comedy festivals like San Francisco's SketchFest and science fiction conventions such as Dragon Con and CONvergence, and his plays have been performed internationally. He has collaborated with performer Bill Corbett on a number of plays and written for RiffTrax, Corbett's joint comedy venture with Kevin Murphy and Michael J. Nelson. Scrimshaw has toured with musicians Molly Lewis and the Doubleclicks, and performed live for musician Jonathan Coulton's JoCo Cruise and the geek vaudeville w00tstock. Scrimshaw has been involved with writing and performing for American Public Media's radio variety show Wits, writing sketches and appearing as the character Theater Ghost. He has also written for the national sketch comedy television show M@dAbout.


Scrimshaw began his career in Minneapolis, MN, performing sketch and improv comedy with his brother Joshua English Scrimshaw in late night cabarets called The Ballyhoo Players, Look Ma No Pants and The Scrimshaw Show.

Scrimshaw wrote and performed multiple best-selling shows in the Minnesota Fringe Festival, including comic plays, solo shows, and audience interactive comedies.

From 2008 to 2013, Scrimshaw was an active member of the Rockstar Storytellers, with whom he performed regularly at the Bryant-Lake Bowl in Minneapolis.

In 2009, Scrimshaw formed his own production company Joking Envelope with his wife Sara Stevenson Scrimshaw, which focuses on creating, producing and publishing comedic works. The company takes its name from Sigmund Freud's essay on comic theory, "Jokes and Their Relation to the Unconscious."

As a writer, Scrimshaw is currently working with John Kovalic's Dork Storm Press developing Dr. Blink, Superhero Shrink for movies and television. As a performer, he regularly appears at theaters, concert venues and science fiction conventions across the country, and hosts his podcast Obsessed.

Live Performances[edit]

Scrimshaw has performed on Jonathan Coulton's geek performance-themed cruise JoCo Cruise since 2011 with people like Wil Wheaton, John Hodgman, Paul and Storm, Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy, Paul F. Tompkins, Marian Call, Molly Lewis, the Doubleclicks and more.:[2]
His work on American Public Media's Wits involved writing sketches and appearing as the character Theater Ghost.:[3]
He has also performed in the geek vaudeville w00tstock, brainchild of Wil Wheaton, Paul & Storm and Adam Savage, at the San Diego Comic-Con.
In 2012 he was part of singer-songwriter Marian Call's lineup for the Rocketfest fundraiser for the U.S. Space & Rocket Center in Alabama, also known as Space Camp.
Scrimshaw has toured with the nerd-folk duo the Doubleclicks and singer-songwriter Molly Lewis, and they have been featured guests on his podcast Obsessed.
He often performs at science fiction conventions around the country, including Dragon Con[4] in Atlanta and CONvergence in Minneapolis.
He's a member of the Rock Star Storytellers performance group, often sharing stories that evolve into shows he later produces.


Joseph Scrimshaw has collaborated with performer Bill Corbett on two shows, My Monster and CineMadness,[5] which they have performed at the sketch comedy festival San Francisco SketchFest. His company Joking Envelope produced Bill Corbett's play Super-Powered Revenge Christmas #1,[6] which led to Corbett's Kickstarter campaign to produce a comic based on his work.
Scrimshaw commissioned and directed a script by Peter Sagal for "Thirst: The No Round,"[7] a Minnesota marriage amendment benefit in 2012 that featured short plays performed in midst of the dining room of a local restaurant.
Scrimshaw has a history of top-selling shows in the Minnesota Fringe Festival where he developed scripts that have since been produced around the world. These plays include An Inconvenient Squirrel, Adventures in Mating, and The Worst Show in the Fringe, and have played in New York, Seattle, Orlando, Dallas, Las Vegas, the UK, Bulgaria, Peru, the middle of the Caribbean Sea, as well as bars and theaters in Minneapolis and St. Paul.
He's also an actor for hire in the Twin Cities, notable in his role as Dudley Riggs in St. Paul's History Theatre's show "Dudley: Rigged for Laughter!"
An advocate for the arts, he has also been writing the Ivey Awards show since 2010, a major event that celebrates Twin Cities professional theater.[8]

Film and television[edit]

Scrimshaw has written for the national educational TV show M@dAbout, which describes itself as Saturday Night Live meets the Electric Company.
He has also written for RiffTrax, the downloadable comic audio commentaries for movies produced by Bill Corbett, Kevin Murphy and Michael J. Nelson. Scrimshaw contributed jokes used in the MP3s for The Return of the King, Avatar, Terminator Salvation, Inception, Order of the Phoenix, The Half-Blood Prince, and more.
Scrimshaw appears in the music video "Nothing to Prove" by the Doubleclicks, created to address the "fake geek girl" controversy.[9]
With longtime collaborator Tim Uren, Scrimshaw produced and acted in the short film series Spooky Spooky Scary Scary, featuring Cthulhu-loving characters Chuck and Dexter and their comic misadventures which has played at the H.P. Lovecraft Film Festival and science fiction convention CONvergence.


Scrimshaw's Verbing the Noun comedy album was recorded at the CONvergence science fiction convention and focuses on dating advice for geeks.
In 2013 and 2014, his Flaw Fest Kickstarter produced two albums, one of his stand-up comedy routine celebrating his flaws; the second of songs riffing on these flaws, created by a variety talented musicians including John Roderick, Paul & Storm, John Munson, Molly Lewis et al.


Using Kickstarter, Scrimshaw was able to publish his first book of comic essays, "Comedy of Doom," in 2012.
He also published a recipe for a taco doughnut in the All the Nomz: The Cookbook for Hungry Geeks,[10] created as a fundraiser for the Child's Play charity that donates books, toys and games to children in hospitals. Fellow contributors include Phil Plait, Bonnie Burton, Tara Platt, Yuri Lowenthal, Paul & Storm, Molly Lewis et al.
Published in Fall 2013, he contributed an essay to The Munchkin Book,[11] a companion to the game Munchkin.


In February of 2012, Scrimshaw started his Obsessed podcast,[12] which was featured on iTunes as a "Staff Favorite" in Fall of 2012 and features guests such as Virginia Corbett, Jeremy Messersmith, Paul Cornell, C. Robert Cargill, Ari Hoptman, and more discussing their various obsessions. In 2015, Obsessed was picked up by the Feral Audio Network. Other guests have included Jeff B. Davis, Bill Corbett, James Urbaniak, Ali Spagnola, Mike Drucker, Molly Lewis, Trace Beaulieu, Mary Jo Pehl, OK Go's Dan Kanopka, and Tony Thaxton.
Continuing to explore this media, he wrote the "Death by Fire" episode[13] of actor James Urbaniak's podcast Getting On With James Urbaniak.
In 2013, Scrimshaw appeared in an episode of the Nerdist Writer's Podcast[14] recorded on JoCo Cruise.
In 2012, Scrimshaw appeared with Paul F. Tompkins on Paul and Storm's podcast in episode "Show #125: Paul Lynde as Grand Moff Tarkin (LIVE!).":[15]
In 2015 Scrimshaw replaced Ken Napzok as a regular co-host of the Jedi Alliance vodcast (presented by the Popcorn Talk Network) alongside Mark Donica for several episodes until March 2016, when he passed on hosting duties to John Rocha.
In late 2015, Scrimshaw co-created the Star Wars based Forcecenter podcast feed with fellow former Jedi Alliance host Ken Napzok and writer and actress Jennifer Landa. He co-hosts the main show, Forcecenter, and hosts Databank Brawl, in which he and his guests make Star Wars characters fight.
In 2016, Scrimshaw appeared on the Harmontown podcast with Dan Harmon, Jeff B. Davis, and Spencer Crittenden.

Other projects[edit]

Patreon. Scrimshaw launched on crowdfunding platform Patreon in 2014 as a way to support his writing of blog posts.[16]
Star Wars as Tweets. Scrimshaw wrote and subsequently performed the story of Episode IV: A New Hope as communicated by the Twitter feeds of the main characters. The bit proved popular so Scrimshaw and Doug McBride published a text version.[17]
Geek a Week. Joseph was featured in Len Peralta's series of trading cards. After interviewing Joseph, Peralta decided to illustrate him[18] as Superman heating chicken with his eyes.
Twitter. Scrimshaw is very active as a comedian on Twitter. Various tweets have been featured in national news outlets.[19][20][21] Every month, Scrimshaw also tweets a series of daily jokes on a topic such as tacos, monkeys, or affirmations. He collects each month's tweet series on his blog in a Daily Tweet Collection.

Personal life[edit]

Joseph Scrimshaw received a B.S. Degree in Visual Art, Rhetoric, Cultural Studies and Comparative Literature from the University of Minnesota.




  • Adventures in Mating (play)
  • Armbruster, Jessica (February 11, 2009) "Adventures in Mating" CityPages Calendar
  • All the Nomz: The Cookbook for Hungry Geeks (contributed recipe)
  • Brain Fighters (play)
  • Comedy of Doom (book of essays)
  • The Damn Audition (play)
  • Fat Man Crying (play)
  • An Inconvenient Squirrel (play)
  • My Monster with Bill Corbett (play)
  • Nightmare Without Pants (play)
  • Sexy Librarian: A Rock Musical (musical)
  • Stitch, Bitch and Die (play)
  • The Worst Show in the Fringe (play)



  1. ^ Richason, Brad (February 1, 2012). "Obsessed (with Joseph Scrimshaw)". CityPages Calendar. Archived from the original on 19 February 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  2. ^ Coulton, Jonathan (February 21, 2013). "The Cruise is Over; Long Live the Cruise!". Jonathan Coulton. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  3. ^ "Theater Ghost and Julia Sweeney". Wits. American Public Media. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  4. ^ "Joseph Scrimshaw". Dragon Con.
  5. ^ Richason, Brad (November 2, 2011). "CineMadness". CityPages Calendar. City Pages. Archived from the original on 19 February 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  6. ^ Olive, John (December 4, 2010). "Super-Powered Revenge Christamas #1 by Joking Envelope". HowWasTheShow. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  7. ^ Huyck, Ed (October 1, 2012). "Thirst: The No Round': Drink, Be Entertained, and Fight the Marriage Amendment". CityPages The Dressing Room. City Pages. Archived from the original on 29 May 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  8. ^ Gabler, Jay (September 26, 2012). "2012 Ivey Awards: Judy! Judy! Shanan!". Letoile. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  9. ^ "New music video: "Nothing to Prove"". Doubleclicks. July 23, 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  10. ^ Plait, Phil (July 9, 2013). "All the Nomz: A Geeky Cookbook for Charity". Bad Astronomy. Slate. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  11. ^ "Official Munchkin® Companion Coming From Smart Pop Books". Press Release. Steve Jackson Games. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  12. ^ Richason, Brad (February 1, 2012). "Obsessed (with Joseph Scrimshaw)". CityPages Calendar. City Pages. Archived from the original on 24 February 2014. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  13. ^ "Ep. 7: "Death by Fire" by Joseph Scrimshaw". Feral Audio. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  14. ^ "Nerdist Writers Panel: Live from the Jonathan Coulton Cruise!". Nerdist. February 15, 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  15. ^ "Show #125: Paul Lynde as Grand Moff Tarkin (LIVE!)". Paul and Storm. March 5, 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  16. ^ Scrimshaw, Joseph. "Joseph Scrimshaw is creating Comedy". Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  17. ^ Scrimshaw, Joseph. "Star Wars: A New Hope in tweets". Retrieved 31 March 2014.
  18. ^ Peralta, Len (2012). "Geek A Week One-Offs: Joseph Scrimshaw". Len Peralta. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  19. ^ "Diane Sawyer Slurring Video Captures Twitter". Atlanta Black Star. November 8, 2012. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  20. ^ Kurtzman, Daniel (July 24, 2013). "Daniel Kurtzman Carlos Danger: The Best Jokes and Memes". Political Humor. Archived from the original on 3 August 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  21. ^ Beauchamp, Mike (August 14, 2013). "The New York Times Website Is Down: Here Are 15 Tweets About The Outage". The Official Zagg Blog. Retrieved 26 September 2013.
  22. ^ Huyck, Ed (June 3, 2013). "Joseph Scrimshaw Looking to Kickstart New Comedy Albums". CityPages The Dressing Room. City Pages. Archived from the original on 28 September 2013. Retrieved 26 September 2013.

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