Catch a rising star

Local standup talents to watch
By SARA FAITH ALTERMAN  |  September 17, 2008

Funny business: With all of the changes a’brewin’ on the local stand-up scene, audiences want to know:whaaaaat is thedeeeeal with Boston comedy? By Sara Faith Alterman
Boston is lousy with talented stand-ups — the following performers just happen to be a few jokes closer than the rest to the top of Comedy Mountain. They’re not all natives, but they’ve all honed their skills here, so we’re taking the credit, thanks.


VIDEO: Shane Mauss on Late Night with Conan O'Brien

SHANE MAUSS
Shane Mauss’s Wisconsin corn-fed looks and molasses charm belie a sharp wit and sharper tongue. In the past two years, he’s transitioned from drunk roofer/part-time comedian to a thisclosetostardom comedy wunderkind who may or may not be a stalking target of obsessed fan Conan O’Brien. Credits that you care about include Comedy Central, Showtime, and the pinnacle of any comedian’s career, Playboy TV.

BREAKTHROUGH MOMENT Winning the 2007 HBO Aspen Comedy Festival. “It’s changed everything completely. I got some of the best representation that a comedian can have, I got on Conan. Now I’m a regular, it appears. I’m now a national headliner. I didn’t expect for everything to happen as fast as it did. It’s kind of overwhelming, but it’s a good problem to have.”

TURN ON, TUNE IN Mauss will appear on Showtime’s Comics Without Borders on September 18 and, for the third time, on Late Night with Conan O’Brien on September 19.

KELLY MACFARLAND
For all of you morons who think that chicks aren’t funny, spend one minute with Kelly MacFarland. If she doesn’t knock you on your ass with hilarity, she could knock you on your ass for realsies, thanks to a newly badass physique (acquired, in part, from competing on the first season of NBC’s The Biggest Loser). A native Mainer, MacFarland has already taken national television by storm, and is much, much beloved on both the local and national club circuit.

COMMUTER PERILS One of the first Boston shows that MacFarland did was at Harvard Square’s The Comedy Studio. “You can’t park there on the weekends. I drove down from Maine, and then had to drive around and around Cambridge for half an hour, and finally, I paid $35 to park in a garage, all for five minutes of stage time. And I loved every second of it.”

BRAGGING RIGHTS Her résumé includes Comedy Central’s Premium Blend, CNN’s Larry King Live, the Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, ABC’s The View, CBS’s The Tyra Banks Show, NBC’s The Today Show and The Biggest Loser, and, despite having lady parts, “Puppetry of the Penis.”

TEARS OF RELIEF In an early chapter of her career, MacFarland came offstage and saw that her mother, in the audience, was crying. “I thought it was really sweet, that she was so proud, until she said, ‘Oh thank God! Your father and I weren’t sure how to tell you that you’re not funny. But you were actually funny this time!’ ”


VIDEO: The Walsh Brothers, "Levitator"

THE WALSH BROTHERS
Though Chris and David Walsh fled Boston for the sunny skies and Botoxed eyes of Los Angeles, these Charlestown natives (and real, live siblings) sharpened their stand-up and sketch skills right here in everyone’s favorite starter city. Bonus: they look stunning in gold lamé. Come home. Please?

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