Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Boston Comedy Festival: Somerville’s Emily Singer Has A Few Zingers!

Doug Holder

While waiting in front of the Colonial Theatre in Boston for my companion for the evening; I watched the throngs of newly minted Emerson College students pass by with all their colorful, creative plumage, and sonic bursts of energy. On this crisp September evening I was going to catch the Boston Comedy Festival, at one of its many venues; in this case Dick’s Beantown Comedy Vault in the heart of the Theatre District. Somerville comedian and P.R. gal for Jimmy Tingle’s Off- Broadway Theatre Emily Singer and her cohorts were performing in this basement comedy bistro. Singer and the other performers for the night were trying to ferment a “Comedy Revolution,” the title of their gig.

The “Boston Comedy Festival” is now in its seventh year. Over 150 comics perform in dozens of venues. The festival draws stand-up, as well as national headlining talent from the region. At the close of the fest there is a comedy contest where comics compete for $10,000, and a chance to be seen by national scouts. Best of all the festival raises money for the Red Cross.

Performing this evening, other than Emily Singer, were Dylan Mandlshon, Jon Lincoln, Selena Coppock, Sarah Blodgett, Ted Pettingell, Jon Lincoln; plus a few unexpected guests.

The host John David worked the crowd with a very caustic wit, and used an unsuspecting girl at the front table as a sort of a whipping post for his barbed jokes. David is a well-oiled M.C., with a plethora of misogynist, racial and scatological material.

One thing can be said, David kept the crowd on their toes; and the talent was an engaging and amusing grab bag.

Our girl Emily Singer, played a low-key, slightly world-weary every woman, bringing humor to the banalities of the day to day. Singer bemoaned the state of men in her life. One boyfriend broke up with her in an email. She said, “I always knew he had problems with attachments.” Recently Singer said she ordered a boat online: “It came with free shipping.” Talking of the new Super Wal-Mart, Singer reflected: “They have everything. A florist, a restaurant, a university. I even got a degree; Phi Beta Crappa.” Unlike many of the other comedians Singer stayed away from the sexually explicit and bathroom levity, but effectively won over the crowd.

The other comics included a tall-drink-of-water from Toronto Dylan Mandlshon, who said he was brought up as a non-practicing Jew. He just thought his parents were “Cheap Catholics.” Ted Pettingell cast himself as the classic loser. He told the crowd that if he committed suicide his eulogy would read: “I can see why he did it.” Selena Coppock did a manic take on a vapid Weston party-hearty girl, and Jon Lincoln recited a litany of woes with the girls in his life. Sarah Blodgett talked about the lack of top shelf dating fodder in the underdog city of Worcester.

The show ended late and then the crowd moved to a reception upstairs. This evening provided a much needed dose of cheer on the eve of 9/11.

Doug Holder


  1. Dear Doug, The poet Lawrence Schimel told me about your blog. I would like to introduce myself to you. My name is Martha Manno and I have a small press in Seekonk, MA just outside Providence. My second book, Regrets Only, came out on 9/01/06. It's a collection of contemporary poets on the subject of regret. I am the editor. The book is for sale on Amazon, at independent bookstores all over RI as well as City Lights in SF and the MoMA store.There's more about the book at our website: www.littlepearpress.com. There are readings coming up as well. I'd love to hear from you. Sincerely, Martha Manno

  2. I would be glad to review your book send review copies to; Ibbetson Update 25 School St. Somerville, Mass. 02143 you might want to join our listserv you can send out announcements join at http://yahoogroups.com/group/ibbetsonstreetpressupdate