Here’s a timely metaphor that you can probably digest: the annual Just For Laughs festival in Montreal is the Super Bowl of comedy. Like, the biggest deal of all big deals in the bloodsport of humor.
For the second straight year, JFL is hosting this region’s New Faces showcase at Laugh Boston, where some of our city’s top comedic talents will audition on Feb 10 for a spot to perform at the fest this July (there’s also a character showcase that same day at Improv Asylum). Past winners of the big dance up in Canada include major stars like Kevin Hart and Michelle Wolf, so naturally we’re rooting for our home team this time around. And what a team it is; for a glimpse of those competing for a spot in Montreal, we pulled our favorite moments from Dig interviews with some of this year’s JFL hopefuls.
Corey Rodrigues (from our 2016 State of the Boston Comedy Union by Dan McCarthy):
On occasional failure: “The easiest bombs to eat are the ones you can identify. So the ones you walk off the stage and say, ‘I was going too fast,’ or, ‘They didn’t get [the joke].’ As long as you can diagnose it. The worst is like a break-up where you don’t know if you’re broken up. “Are we, aren’t we? Just fucking tell me!” When you don’t know it’s the worst.”
On Boston then and now: “In comparison to the way it was then when those guys were making a good living [in comedy] and didn’t want to leave Boston, it’s because they didn’t need to. When they were doing seven shows a night, and going back and forth from out in the north shore and back to the south shore, and then back in town, then yeah of course. It’s different now. But it’s still good, the quality [is] here. There’s bad comedy too, don’t get me wrong. But we have good comedians.”
Tricia Auld (from our 2015 cover profile of Auld by Aly Morrissey):
On getting into comedy: “I used it as a creative outlet but wasn’t fully ready to take on the responsibility of owning the content.”
On motivation: “What fuels and fulfills me is when I put the most raw, honest, and pure form of myself on display and another human being identifies with that. It can be challenging and scary to put yourself out there in that way, but I do it because I know that it might turn someone’s day around, or make someone in a similar situation feel like they aren’t alone.”
Alex Giampapa (from our 2017 interview by Dennis Maler):
On performing outside of the city: “Politically, they’re more conservative out there so just yelling ‘I don’t like Trump!’ doesn’t get an applause break like it does around the left-leaning city. It’s pushed me to present political material not as preaching what’s right—but simply how I see the situation, because of who I am. So instead of pretending that everything I think is the ‘correct’ opinion, I’ve moved more toward material like, “I was a Bernie Sanders guy, but like a lot of Bernie Sanders guys, I had never paid taxes before.” Once I criticize myself a little, they’re cool with me criticizing the conservative agenda a little bit as well. I’ve also noticed that out in small towns they tend to appreciate shows a little more. The city is my favorite place, but every crowd had seven other things they could’ve done that night so there’s generally a real “impress me, clown” vibe going on. In smaller areas, the comedy show is the big thing to do that night—so while they may not be as open-minded about certain subjects, they do tend to lean in and listen a little bit more closely.”
Laura Severse (from our 2018 profile by Dennis Maler):
On telling jokes about her kids: “There’s only a handful of parents on the scene in Boston, so there’s very little overlap or parallel thinking with the younger comics because I’m doing parent humor. The thing is, I never started out trying to be a mom comic. In fact, in the first two years I was doing comedy I barely mentioned my kids. They were young then and weren’t particularly amusing. As they get older they seem to be providing me with an endless supply of material. I’d be a fool not to take advantage of that. But I also work hard to have variety in my sets because I am many things. Being a parent is just one of those things.”