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|Sketch mercenaries The Minnesota Wrecking Crew didn't know that destiny would call on them to unite forces. Although all four crew members have been part of successful Toronto troupes - including The Doo Wops, Dead Kid Did It, Nugmutter and The Gazebo Pals - John Catucci, Josh Glover, Mike "Nug" Nahrgang, and Ron Sparks first crossed paths while studying at York University in 1995. Initially, the fates of the foursome became tangled while performing in numerous plays, musicals and festivals for Vanier College Productions on the York campus.|
The roots of the crew were planted in early 2000 when Dave Crawford, needing an act to fill a last-minute cancellation at the legendary Toronto sketch night Sketchy At Best, called Nug a few hours before curtain. Nug placed emergency phone calls to sketch performers that he appreciated, but had never had the opportunity to work directly with. The last minute assembly was dubbed "The Minnesota Wrecking Crew" and met two hours before the show to write 15 minutes worth of material. The show went well, and Dave began calling on Nug to gather makeshift troupes whenever he needed a "Sketchy At Best" time slot filled. While several other members rotated in and out of the makeshift collectives, the core unit of Josh, John, Nug and Ron began to form.
The early prototype of the crew took a strange joy in their total unpreparedness - without a roster of sketches, the ritual of meeting at the venues just before showtime for an emergency writing session became standard. The fearsome foursome thrived on the energy of this creative process, and the pressure of delivering under such strict time constraints forced them to develop a strong writing collective. Audiences responded warmly to their unrestrained style, show producers took notice, and booking offers for the Crew started to come in.
Still not really considering themselves a formal troupe, the Crew realized that they enjoyed working with each other and began to accept the bookings and develop a roster of sketches in late 2000. Since that time, the Crew has wrangled regular time at such Toronto comedy institutions as Clinton's Pirate Video Cabaret, Second City's "Howl," The Rivoli's Altdot Comedy Lounge and Sketch Comedy Lounge and staged their own, highly successful weekend shows at the Tim Sims Playhouse and The Rivoli, notably including the sold-out "Wrecking Ball".
In addition to these appearances, The Minnesota Wrecking Crew spent a year as the house troupe at the Shehori Brothers' critically acclaimed Character Night (part of the influential "Eclectic Circus" weekly series at the Tim Sims Playhouse), appeared on The A Channel's The Toronto Show and picked up the 2003 and 2004 Canadian Comedy Awards for Best Sketch Troupe. They were also recently featured on CBC's â€œSketch With Kevin McDonaldï¿½?.