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Come to Papa, come to the Sheldon

If you go...

Who: Tom Papa

What: Comedy show

When: 7:30 p.m., Feb. 4

Where: Sheldon Theatre

How much: $18 to $35

More info: 651-388-8700 or www.sheldontheatre.org

Why would a top-rated comedian who lives in New York and Los Angeles consider Minnesota one of the best places to do stand-up comedy?

"Good people, smart people and bad weather — it's the perfect combination for comedy," explained Tom Papa, who performs at 7:30 p.m., Feb. 4, at the Sheldon Theatre.

In LA, he added, people don't have much of a sense of humor about themselves.

That's not the only surprising thing about Papa. There's also his choice of topics.

While others are obsessed with politics and today's headlines, he's going to be sharing his thoughts on everyday family life, fatherhood, and common absurdities such as status and possessions.

"Family to me is important and really funny," he said. "I feel there are enough people making noise about politics." Papa offers audiences an escape, an evening of talk about subjects that don't become obsolete almost overnight.

Perhaps, he admitted, he was born in the wrong time. "I might have been better off in the '40s."

He has been pursuing laughter pretty much all his life. Even when he was a kid, it was his response to arguments or tension at home or in school.

"I would always try and make everybody laugh."

When Papa was old enough to realize there could be a job in humor, he started listening to all sorts of comedians, from the topical, cultural wit of George Carlin to the silliness of Steve Martin.

He became even more convinced that "We're better off trying to laugh at all of it, rather than take it too seriously."

Except, perhaps, for one disturbing trend: Adult coloring books.

"I'm a bit concerned there's no grownups left," he quipped. "People aren't taking things very seriously. They spend time coloring instead of doing what they should be doing."

Papa, who has been doing stand-up comedy for more than 20 years, has found success on radio and television and in the movies as well as on stage.

His third hourlong standup special, "Human Mule," premiered in December on Epix; a digital audio version also was released. Most recently, he starred in the "Howie Mandel All-Star Comedy Gala" which aired Jan. 16.

He hosts a podcast and weekly SiriusXM show, "Come to Papa," and several times a year writes a scripted radio play for the show with performers including Matt Damon, Kevin Pollack, Sarah Silverman and others.

In 2013, he was seen alongside Damon and Michael Douglas in the HBO film "Behind the Candelabra," which won 11 Emmy Awards, plus he has been seen on several other TV shows including "Inside Amy Schumer" and "The New Adventures of Old Christine," and in his own series.

Papa has been in several films, among them "The Informant," "Analyze That" and the animated feature "El Superbeasto."

When he's not on the road, the stage or the screen, Papa is working on a humor book he described as essays about family life and on scripts for a new standup special for television.

When he takes the stage at the Sheldon, Papa said, "It'll be a mix of newer and older stuff." His show is suitable for all ages, although adults will be more appreciative of some of his topics.

Tickets to the comedy show are $18 to $35. For information or reservations, contact the Sheldon at 651-388-8700 or www.sheldontheatre.org.

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