This weekend, the transplanted Maine stand-up comedian Ray Harrington appears for a weekend of shows at the Comedy Connection, performing a set that will be recorded for a forthcoming record on, as he puts it, a "legitimate label." The Kittery native then embarks on a tour which includes appearances at a Stand Up! Records showcase in New York City and the Maine college circuit (Husson, Unity, and Fort Kent) before weekends in Minnesota and his current home in Rhode Island, where he opens for national comic Kyle Kinane. We caught up to him to chat about his craft, coming up in Maine, and his lowest moments.
GETTING IN THEIR HEADS Laughter as Trojan horse, with Ray Harrington.
I was just on your Tumblr account. There's a lot of funny stuff on there.
Oh, thank you. That's the beauty of tumblr, I don't have to do a lot of original content. I had blogspot for awhile and thought it so old school. It's very Web 1.0. You just put it out there and go READ ME, LISTEN TO ME. Tumblr's much more interactive, I like that.
But there's a blurry line between porn and whatever else you can find on there.
Oh yeah. A friend of mine's a graffiti artist. I like seeing the stuff that he's doing on his account — tags and stuff like that — but then there'll be just three posts in a row that are just porn. (laughs) I don't understand it! I can't be so free about that. It's like saying to the world Hey, this gave me a boner! I'm like, no, you're supposed to be secretive about that! It's very bizarre.
Is the stuff you're doing down in Rhode Island different from the material you're performing at the Comedy Connection?
No, I think it'll be pretty similar. I try to steer clear of local references, especially for an album. It'd be great to say something like oh, that's crazy, that's like being in Biddeford! and have the whole room laugh because I made fun of Biddeford, but that doesn't mean anything to anyone else down here.
Do you ever get lumped into "Maine humor"?
Not too bad. I think it's a cultural thing. People don't really apply a Maine comedy thing outside of Maine too much. I think if you're in Boston or New Hampshire people understand what that is, but more times than not it's more of just an oh, good for you, you made it out! Like I now have a helmet or something. I'm like no, there's people! There's things! It's a normal state! I like it. I miss Maine.
And you grew up here?
I grew up in Kittery but I was in Portland all the time. I started doing comedy when I was in college in Bangor, so I started driving down to the Portland Comedy Connection and had different little one-nighters around Portland. Binga's Wingas, Empire. Liquid Blue was another club that was doing comedy.
That place isn't around anymore.
Yeah, that was a weird place. It was very strange doing comedy there, my head poking through one of the drop ceiling tiles, being like oh we need to hurry up so this can turn into an awkward sad dance club? Alright!