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An Agony of Fools

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An Agony of Fools

By Ben San Del Presents

Written by Ben San Del

No journey of self-discovery. No deep reveal. Only a slight chance of dancing. Cleanse your palate with a new comedy hour from the creator of "Minnesota Middle Finger" and "A Nice Guy's Guide to Awkward Sex."


World premiere Solo show

Just so you know, this show has
Adult language

The creators say this show is appropriate for ages 15 and up

Other shows

"...one of the finest stand-up comics I've ever seen." - Twin Cities Daily Planet

"If you want a good laugh...Ben San Del's your man, and An Agony of Fools is your show. 5 Stars. Very highly recommended." - Twin Cities Daily Planet

From the creator of encore-winning Fringe shows Minnesota Middle Finger, A Nice Guy's Guide to Awkward Sex and Animal Cracker Genocide.

No journey of self-discovery. No deep reveal. Only a slight chance of dancing. Cleanse your palate with a new solo comedy show from Fringe veteran Ben San Del. Dating, death, Wall Drug, dirty talk, the existential crisis of owning a cat"Ben's unique way of looking at the world makes everything a cause for laughter" (Twin Cities Daily Planet).

"Sharp, with perfect pacing" - St. Paul Pioneer Press
"Always on-target stalwart" - City Pages
"Really clever, really sweet and fun show." - Minnesota Playlist
"One of our favorite finds" - Mankato Free Press
"Made me so happy on so many levels.” - Twin Cities Daily Planet
"Endearing, well-structured piece. Moves along at a good clip, with candor and truly funny shtick." - Examiner

This will be Ben's sixth production in the Fringe, and fourth solo performance following Mittens for Fat Kids, Strawberry Fields Temporarily and Animal Cracker Genocide.

Ben will also be performing a piece in Brian Watson Jones' show, Fringe Orphans, at Theatre in the Round. 

Photographs by Craig VanDerSchaegen 
Graphic designs by Andy Erikson 
More info at bensandel.com

Cast + crew

Ben San Del
Role: Writer/Performer
A former news writer and columnist, Ben San Del's stage career kicked off after winning Acme Comedy Co.'s Funniest Person in the Twin Cities Contest, 2006. That same year, he debuted in the Minnesota Fringe Festival with his one-man show Mittens for Fat Kids and followed that with two more solo productions: Strawberry Fields Temporarily (2008) and Animal Cracker Genocide (2009). In 2010, Ben wrote and directed his first play, A Nice Guy's Guide to Awkward Sex. The production was the fifth best-selling show of the Fringe, a feat matched in 2011 with his second play Minnesota Middle Finger. Outside of Fringe, Ben regularly performs as a stand-up comedian and storyteller, gaining a reputation as an "always on-target stalwart" (City Pages) with a style described as “sharp, with perfect pacing” by the St. Paul Pioneer Press. He recently performed at the national Laughing Skull Comedy Festival in Atlanta. Ben is also a member of the Twin Cities performance troupe The Rockstar Storytellers.

Write a review

You will be able to write a review for this show during the festival.

User reviews

by Feba Hauer
Rating 5 stars
Hilarious and hilariously relatable. Fun for the whole family... as long as you're not feeling too awkward to laugh at an anal sex joke in front of your parents. Mostly PG-13 rated stuff, though, and completely brilliant.

Excellent show.
by Eric Salo
Rating 5 stars
Sharp, clever standup and I even got picked on by name. Can't ask for more than that. Very polished and highly enjoyable.

Great new material
by barb brown
Rating 5 stars
If you have been a fan of Ben's comedy, you know his material is crisp and funny. This show continues continues that tradition with almost all new material. If you like comedy, then do not miss this show.

A Really Big Disappointment…
by Thomas Anderson
Rating 5 stars
It was a really big disappointment…that I couldn’t make it to the last two years of Ben’s Fringe performances but I was thrilled that I was able to make it this year. The only excuse you’d be able to use to get away with not watching Ben perform is that you’d have to be literally out of the country. There is no excuse to not go and see Ben at his best doing stand up.

Ben is absolutely amazing with his comical delivery, smooth transitions, perfect timing, relatable social topics, hilarious punch lines, and his great new haircut. I literally had to go to the bathroom before the show started so that I wouldn’t pee little dribbles in my pants like the last time.

This guy is going to get his own one hour comedy stand up show on Comedy Central soon; I just know it! He can really talk the walk. I’m already looking forward to Ben’s Fringe show next year!

Dogs can suck it
by Cato Brutus
Rating 4 stars
It's Ben doing standup. Don't get me wrong, he's great a t it, but it's just that. The only thing that will stick with you is a warm fuzzy feeling.

In your pants.

Hilarious, as usual
by Katy Read
Rating 5 stars
I always laugh throughout Ben's Fringe Festival shows, and this year was no exception. His self-deprecating humor about modern life's awkward moments is both funny and reassuring. (Oh, whew, so I'm not the only one!)

Of course I'm a night person...
by Megan Andersen
Rating 5 stars
Funny, insightful comedy. One of the best of the Fringe!

Slightly used comedy, works fine
by Fringivitis Vulgaris
Rating 2 stars
Ben San Del revisits his standup material. He has fun, he interacts with the audience and he's OK with being awkward. I had hoped for fresher writing from a talent of his caliber.

Still Laughing
by Natalia Malakowsky
Rating 5 stars
Ben San Del's show was a perfect way to end my night. He kept me laughing the whole time and well into the next day. Excellent show. Highly recommended.

Oh, the Agony
by Bill Stiteler
Rating 4 stars
Ben gives a great standup performance, filling a space like the Southern, which should dwarf him, with lots of laughter. Entertaining as hell.

Fool if you don't go
by Mark Grimes
Rating 5 stars
Great show with funny stories. I have seen Ben several times and he was really on his game. Everyone was laughing and relating to his stories. He has a wonderful stage presense and delivery.

Stand-up Done Right
by Trevor Harty
Rating 5 stars
I've seen a few stand-up/one-man shows in the Fringe, and this one is easily the best. If I had to sum up this show in one word it would be "effortless". Ben flies from one topic to the next and builds a strong relationship with the audience without seeming like he's even trying. But most importantly, the show is hilarious and definitely worth your time.

Good standup
by Frayed Edge
Rating 4 stars
I bounced between 3 and 4 on this, because I've rated some pieces I enjoyed much more 4, but decided that it was so well presented, and genuinely funny that it deserved 4.

If you enjoy stand up comedy you'll love this, and if you don't, you still won't be disappointed. Tight jokes delivered slyly and well.

1-Tell your friends not to go
2-A bad fringe show, below par for the festival. Don't Bother
3-Worth seeing, don't go out of your way.
4-Good to Great. Make time for this show.
5-Absolutely outstanding. A great show, festival or otherwise.

Awesome Stand-up Comedy
by Bradley Johnson
Rating 5 stars
Ben is one funny guy. He has great delivery and and seems to pick great topics to make fun of. I've been a fan for year's and so glad to see him again this year. Highly recommend!

its a hit!!
by Pete Winberg
Rating 5 stars
Ben San Del has done it again!! Great show that makes you laugh and think you're doing ok in life! More than that - you can relate to what he's saying...he's talking about a life that most people have or are living...makes it even easier to laugh when you think about doing the same things he's talking about!! get a babysitter...and check this show out - totally worth it!

by Ryan Sanderson
Rating 5 stars
Mr. San Del's Minnesota Middle Finger was my favorite show at last year's fringe, and he brings the same relatable brand of everyman humor to this standup routine. Whether he's making fun of cats, Wall Drug, Coon Rapids, or the flirting habits of shy men, he manages to hit the topic squarely on the head. I probably laughed at this show more than any comedy I've seen at the Fringe this year. Definitely worth your time.

Goof Annoys Foal
by Brian Watson-Jones
Rating 4 stars
Ben San Del is funny. Here, he does funny stand-up. I've seen most of his past Fringe shows, and the occasional Rockstar show or youtube clip, and it's a pleasure to see how his technique has grown more polished and precise as the years go by. I wish I could go into a whole liberal arts school thesis about it, but it boils down to: Ben San Del is funny. Here, he does funny stand-up. It's well worth your hour.

Pure Enjoyment
by Marie Simpson
Rating 4 stars
I really enjoyed Ben's performance. I was not ready for it to end. I recommend this show.

Bucket List
by Windy Bowlsby
Rating 5 stars
Bouncy Castle shenanigans have been added to my bucket list now.
Thanks Ben!

Funny and entertaining
by Kelly Rosenthal
Rating 5 stars
Ben did a great job of connecting with the audience. A fun, fast-paced show definitely worth seeing.

by Lindsey Middlecamp
Rating 5 stars
This is NOT a stand-up comedy show of one-liners; this is just pure, hilarious, and tragically relatable storytelling. I emphasize the difference because I think nailing the latter category(which Ben has with this show) is more impressive and memorable. His stories and observations are delivered with excellent pacing, healthy variations between darkness and mirth, the right blend of humility, swagger, and endearing dorkiness, and simple use of his physicality, the stage, and the audience where appropriate. Although my dad loved the show too, I think the material is ideal for us local post-grads whose childhoods involved terrible roadtrips to the Dakotas, and whose futures involve student loan debt and awkward romantic foibles. Laugh loudly.

A few good laughs but some "cheap" humor
by ... ...
Rating 3 stars
A little better than 3, but couldn't round up to 4. Ben's got a great presence, I liked him. The material was funny in spots, though a bit too crude for me in a couple places, and one anecdote was disturbing.

Top notch
by Will Weisert
Rating 5 stars
Great stand-up is a beautiful thing to behold.

Great stand-up
by Florence Brammer
Rating 5 stars
I love stand-up comedy and am always happy to go to any stand-up option in the Fringe. San Del's material was well-written and engaging and his delivery was great. As one reviewer commented, the time flew by.

Simple comedy
by Publius McGee
Rating 4 stars
The show's description tells you everything you need to know - it's Ben doing stand up, period. He's been doing it awhile; he's good at it. The time went by quickly, the jokes weren't uproarious but were definitely funny, and his timing was impeccable. Not my favorite Ben San Del experience ever, but I did find myself wishing there was more when he was done.

He Can Stand Alone
by Richard Shields
Rating 5 stars
I have seen Ben San Del in several fringe works where he was part of a larger cast and have seen things he has written. This was my time seeing him alone. He delivered a fast paced, funny show.

Besides providing laughs, he showed skill with his audience interaction efforts. Ben is a good example of Minnesota nice guy gone edgy.

Very Entertaining!
by Matt Sandell
Rating 5 stars
This is Ben's best solo show to date. His comedy is perfectly paced, funny, and more than anything very entertaining.

Tight and Funny
by Mark Long
Rating 5 stars
This is a stand-up show, pure and simple. And, Ben is great at it. He is funny and original, covering topics we all can relate to. If you are in the mood for stand-up comedy, see this show. Then, see everything else he does, too, he's that good.

by Brenda White
Rating 4 stars
Our group of seven enjoyed this and ages ranged from teenager to 51. There was something for everyone and we referenced the humor today as we went about our day

Ben is very talented, and I'd like to see him at another time with a different theme. He had the crowd laughing throughout his performance.

So much of what he said was every day life - and oh so true and funny! Thanks for the fun.

Charming, Funny, Real
by Heidi Garrido
Rating 5 stars
Ben has great content, fantastic timing, and just a really charming demeanor. I was impressed by the very full theater when I arrived, but all those people weren't wrong - Ben was awesome. It was a little slow to start (but, I suppose that could've been the beers I had prior to the show) but it picked up and I found myself really enjoying it. I was especially amused by his description of hell, "catty style" sex, and stories of his awkwardness with women. He kinda made me want to date him! (That's impressive.) My friend and I talked about the performance for the rest of the evening post-show, reminiscing all of the jokes. Definitely go see Ben. Unless you're opposed to laughter. If you don't like laughter, then Ben's show is not for you. ;)

Loved it
by Marjorie Vigoren
Rating 5 stars
Great show - impeccable timing, charming and - oh yes - really funny!

Still laughing the next day
by Sherry Merriam
Rating 4 stars
After seeing the show last night, we've been making occasional references all day to some of the great humor.

Snort, Snort
by Liz Blank
Rating 5 stars
Seriously the gal next to me was laughing so hard that she was snorting. It made me laugh hard, so then she snorted some more and of course more laughing and snorting ensued.

Great Stand-up
by Mark Mikula
Rating 5 stars
A tight forty-five minute set of pretty much straight-up stand-up. Ben San Del is very talented. He has tremendous command of the cavernous space of the Southern and delivers edgy observational comedy that bounces along a range of topics. I've enjoyed him in other Fringe shows during his history with the festival, but here his gift for the form of stand-up really shines through. Since I'm a transplant to Minnesota--here for three years now--I was excited to get most of the local references now too. Really one of the purest examples of a solid set that I've seen in the last handful of years in any comedy club. Are you now, or ever have you been on the WTF Podcast, Ben? My hope would be that that kind of exposure is somewhere in your future.

Ben San Del Brings the Funny
by Michael Merriam
Rating 4 stars
Comedian Ben San Del gives a great performance that will leave you laughing well after you've walked out of the theatre. Smart and energetic, San Del has great stage presences and the material never bogs down, remaining beat perfect throughout the show.

Constant, pure laughter
by Rew Swanson
Rating 5 stars
Ben San Del is one amazing comic. His lines are original and smart. He identifies with his audience and easily pulls the laughs right out of them. You feel as if you're having one of those hilarious times with your funniest friend. His material is edgy in a fun way, not overly offensive or uncomfortable, and is delivered perfectly. His transitions couldn't be better, keeping you constantly engaged. I would recommend Ben to anyone who likes to laugh. This show is a must-see.

Ben brings it!
by re gurgitate
Rating 4 stars
A solid standup set from one of our talented local comics. Every year Ben puts up a solid show, Congrats!

Nothing new to add. Ben=funny. The end.
by Amy Salloway
Rating 5 stars
I had no doubt when I waited in line for Ben's latest show that it would be hilarious and that I would laugh a lot. And indeed, that was the case. Ben is witty, personable, relatively "clean" compared to a lot of the comic world, and uses his own life, family and experiences as material, which is always nice to see (no politics, no insults, no reliance on pop culture, which often leaves me out in the cold). The packed house I was part of seemed to have a pretty gosh darn great time.

Quality Stand up
by Ray Klahr
Rating 5 stars
This stand up act really makes the time fly. Very funny, definitely recommend.

Stand Up. Nuff Said.
by William Marth
Rating 5 stars
Second time catching San Del doing stand-up at the Fringe, and this one was just as good. It doesn't pretend to be anything that it's not, which is a pure standup routine with just a few light cues to remind you that it's still technically a Fringe show. Hilarious.

Agony of Fools
by Ann Bredemeier
Rating 5 stars
Hilarious! My first Fringe experience and such fun. Thank you Ben for a great time. This is a must see show.

laughter before bed
by Claire Avitabile
Rating 4 stars
I tend to try to end my night of Fringe-ing with comedy, because I always go home happy. I've seen Ben before, and this was definitely my favorite 'show' of his. Very funny. Great delivery. Nearly sold-out house. Definitely went home happy.

Reliably side splitting
by CJ Mantel
Rating 5 stars
Ben San Del is a fringe must-see, no matter what. Producing plays or doing stand-up, I will be there.

Bouncy castle!
by Dawn Krosnowski
Rating 5 stars
Time just flew!

Damn fine standup comedy
by Derek Miller
Rating 5 stars
If you've gotten used to Ben San Del producing plays, forget about that for a moment. He's back to his roots this year doing straight standup comedy. It's nothing earth-shattering or complicated or wildly ambitious. He's just really, really damn good at making you laugh. And you will laugh a lot, even if you are the one he accuses of having gonorrhea.

Laugh riot
by Mo Perry
Rating 5 stars
This is an hour of really good, genuinely funny, laugh-out-loud standup. The hour flew by, and I was left wanting more. That's a rare feat for a Fringe show. My favorite thing I've seen so far in this year's festival.

I laughed so hard
by Kathie Zettervall
Rating 5 stars
Ben's perceptions are true and clever: cats v. dogs; night v. morning people; and lots more.

A terrific show
by Katherine Glover
Rating 5 stars
He just gets better and better... Damn you, Ben San Del, for being so talented!

stands up well to non stop laughter
by David Trudeau
Rating 4 stars
Another wonderful stand up show that grows and is well executed. San Del plays his audience masterfully with right on pacing and material that strikes a chord.

Stand Up Excellence
by David Rust
Rating 5 stars
When I decided to go see “An Agony of Fools” I did so based on the recommendations of friends who had seen Ben San Del perform before. I didn’t know anything about him or his style. It was a nice surprise to head in to a show I knew nothing about and be blown away. His comedy starts with observations about “night people” and “morning people” and grows from there. His observations are hilarious and he’s clearly a polished performer who knows how to work with an audience. I didn’t stop laughing the whole time!

I hope I get the chance to see Ben San Del perform on stage somewhere around the Twin Cities, again, soon! With a stand-up of his caliber, I’m very interested in seeing what else his brain can crank out.

An Agony Of Fools
by Trevor Hartman
Rating 5 stars
The last time my friends dragged me to a popular "comedy club" I paid like three times as much and didn't get half the enjoyment out of those bigger-name comedians.
I laughed all throughout this show; Involuntary belly laugh kind of laugh too. Personable, true to life, humor. Very refreshing. Do yourself a favor and see it. Life is funny! So is Ben San Del.

The Face of Funny
by Laurie Swenson
Rating 5 stars
Nearly nonstop laughter with this comedy show. Ben looks really comfortable in his own skin as he moves about the lovely Southern Theater stage. A hilarious show by s great funny guy who goes the extra mile to make his routine fresh. Some edgy stuff, too.

by Levi Weinhagen
Rating 5 stars
Ben San Del is a funny stand up comic doing funny stand up comedy. It's funny. Go watch and laugh and then clap at the end.

I love a good laugh
by Rena Rasch
Rating 4 stars
Neurotic, insightful, and hilarious! A couple of lulls, but most of the time I was laughing obnoxiously.

Real fun, yeah hey.
by Marjorie DeJongh
Rating 5 stars
Delightful and insightful, especially if you're a night owl, have older brothers, have been in a bad relationship, are a dog person or are owned by cats. If you've ever made a bucket list you'll want to borrow from this guys. Sadly, this show really is too short.


Friday, 8/310:00 p.m.
Saturday, 8/48:30 p.m.
Sunday, 8/55:30 p.m.
Tuesday, 8/710:00 p.m.
Sunday, 8/121:00 p.m.


Southern Theater venue information
1420 Washington Ave. S