The great and wonderful Mary Mack is coming to Nashville to do hilarious comedy with her husband Tim Harmston at The High Watt Monday, February 24th. She is one of the absolute funniest, most original comics to have ever called Nashville home and we are damn lucky she is coming back for one night to do a show here! Don’t miss it.
Mary Mack and her mandolin sing-alongs have been featured on the nationally syndicated Bob and Tom Radio Show, XM, Sirius, and Minnesota’s Polka Spotlight.
She has performed in the Vancouver Comedy Fest (2007), HBO’s Andy Kaufman Awards (2007), Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival (2009), and in 2011 was selected for the San Francisco Sketch Fest’s “Dozen,” 12 up and coming headliners performing at the Punch Line throughout the fest.
Years ago a tiny girl walked into the Tuesday open mic at the Bar Car in Cummins Station carrying a large case and asked in a thick Minnesota accent, “um, is it okay if I play my trombone as part of my act?” Everything about her was hilarious, right off the bat. “Do whatever you want,” was the answer Mary Mack heard.
In the hey day of the Bar Car show, there were two or three working, traveling comics going up every week and about 8-10 local comics who would bring really experimental, hilarious new stuff almost every week in an attempt to out-do each other. Her first time up, Mary’s set was the highlight of the night. Over the next three to four months, she returned every week and had a new five minutes that floored everyone. She recorded those sets and self-released her first album, titled “funny.” Mary packed up a PA system and a tent and embarked upon a cross-country tour doing guest sets at every comedy club she could talk her way into, staying at KOA campgrounds to save money. She booked a lot of weeks of work on the spot and by the end of the run had become a full time, working comedian.
While performing at Montreal’s Just For Laughs Festival in 2009, she was seen by Nick Weidenfeld who thought, “This woman’s voice is amazing, and it’s not a put-on. Her voice cut through everything else — so I wrote her name down six years ago and thought, ‘If there’s ever the right cartoon for her, she needs to be the voice of a cartoon.'” Mr. Weidenfeld is currently the head of FOX’s new Animation Domination High-Def (ADHD) programming block and Executive Producer of the new animated series “Golan the Insatiable,” which starts Jan. 11th, 2014. Mary Mack has been cast as the voice of Dylan, a young girl whose best friend is a fearsome monster named Golan in the show.
“Dylan’s in an angry phase,” says Mary, who now splits her time between Minneapolis and Los Angeles. “She’s probably always going to be angry. She doesn’t fit in in the town she’s from, which is a suburb of [Minneapolis] called Oak Grove. “Golan the Insatiable” is about a “mighty godlord from an alternate universe” who shows up in a small town and befriends Dylan, a young girl going through an angry phase.
“Her voice is so seemingly cute, but she was able to sell kind of a sinister sound without compromising the cuteness of the voice,” says “Golan the Insatiable” creator Josh Miller. “We knew we didn’t want her to be full on Wednesday Adams. We wanted her to have real energy and she was able to bring that.”
Mary has been trying to get more acting work and spend less time on the road. She’s been busying herself with acting and improv classes, writing and trying to get published. “I’m always trying to stay tuned to an opportunity that presents itself. Being ready for the opportunities is the time-consuming thing. Some people are all about you have to create your own opportunities and all these motivational sayings, but I don’t think I’m any good at creating my own opportunities. I’ve just been having good accidents happen.”
Here’s the GOLAN THE INSATIABLE trailer:
In a special preview episode of GOLAN THE INSATIABLE, “Ragin’ Fun,” Golan becomes distracted by his new friends while supposedly babysitting Dylan (Mary Mack). Check out the preview Saturday, Nov. 23 (11:00 PM-Midnight ET/PT) on FOX.
Come spend an early, sensible, yet hilarious March evening with Mary Mack, the musical Minnesotan comedian and former clarinetist in one of Nashville’s worst polka bands!
Nashville alt comedy providers, Corporate Juggernaut will present nationally touring comedian and former Sumner County & W.O. Smith music teacher, Mary Mack, for an early evening of comedy at Bongo Java After Hours Theater, March 19 & 20th. Mack, who started comedy about 10 years ago in Nashville with her roommate Jennie Donaldson and their polka band, says the show is more of an abridged hour version of her life than it is a regular comedy show. She is touring this month putting the final touches on what she calls her “Anti One-Woman Show,” subtitled “Sh*t Makes Flowers Grow.”
Mack and her mandolin sing alongs have been featured on the Bob and Tom Radio Show, NBC’s Last Comic Standing, and Comedy Central. She is a cast member on Wisconsin Public Radio’s “Big River Radio Wave,” and can be heard on the XM/Sirius Network. As iconic comedian Louie Anderson describes her: “She’s an original character from the Midwest that rings true. She’ll be telling you a joke about one thing, and then she’ll break off into a song about minnows.”
Expect a quirky evening of pleasant surprises situated in an intimate space with a famed performance history: Bongo After Hours Theater (upstairs at the Belmont Bongo Java, 2007 Belmont Blvd, Nashville). Tickets are available online at bongoafterhours.com for $10 or $15 at the door. See Corporatejuggernaut.com or marymackcomedy.com for more info.
Mon & Tues, March 19 & 20, 2012—7pm
Bongo Java After Hours Theater, 2007 Belmont Blvd, Nashville
(You may have seen Steve Earle perform there among other really great shows.)
Cost: $10 in advance @ www.bongoafterhours.com or $15 @ door
Industry and Clergymen get in free, because Mary needs help in both areas.
Every year Montreal’s “Just For Laughs” festival selects some “New Faces” for a series of special showcase shows. In their words, “Today’s hottest up-and-comers try to catch the eye of talent scouts and network executives in the most important sets of their lives. Come see tomorrow’s stars today!” Of course, these “new faces” are generally well established, proven talents with many accolades and recognition and credits to their name long before the festival took notice.
For example, this year one of the New Faces is our own Mary Mack. You might remember this nationally touring headliner from her appearances on Comedy Central’s “Live at Gotham”, or on NBC’s “Last Comic Standing” or on the “Bob and Tom Radio Show”.
Congratulations to Mary! She and the rest of the New Faces perform “the most important sets of their lives” Tuesday thru Thursday this week at the Cabaret Juste Pour Rire.
My title isn’t fair. Mary Mack‘s humor isn’t purely absurd, but I’m at a loss how precisely to describe it. The most remarkable description I can give of her performance is that it’s both rambling and compact. Her thoughts flow like a meandering steam — one which, magically, loops back to earlier points with ease — yet the jokes are quick, craftily worded, expertly timed, and (ironically, given my stream analogy) bone dry. To put it another way, many excellent one-liners could be plucked from her material (“I don’t have a wide range of emotion. I get panic attacks, but I’m just not that excited about ’em.”), but strung together these jokes become each other’s seamless context.
Perhaps listing the subjects of her comedy would help. She talks about the eccentricities of her life and family, yet isn’t an “observational” comic (at least, not of the “Say, have you ever noticed …?!” variety). Many of her stories relate to small town northern Wisconsin, yet Nashville laughed as hard at these as it did the rest of her jokes. Once or twice she flirted with political humor, but the affair was fleeting, sweet, and refreshingly undramatic. She opened with a recorder-accordion duet, featured a charming Father’s Day song on mandolin (which will be stuck in your head for a week after hearing it), and finale’d with a special tune on her imaginary musical saw.
The show I saw, her album release show at Zanies (Pinch Finger Girl is well-worth the ten bucks — I’ve already listened to it twice through and will be loaning it out to friends), was my first time experiencing her humor. It took a little time for the crowd to fully warm up, but overall the atmosphere was awe and giggles in honor of the captivatingly eccentric lady with the breathy, pinched voice. Even the waiters seemed more relaxed than usual, reacting to the comic with joyful snickers as they ran between tables. She had one especially clever audience interaction: Miss Mack sang a quick ditty about her hope that the enthusiastically drunk lady near the stage wasn’t a speech therapist. The woman was too busy laughing, along with the rest of the crowd, to speak up for the next ten minutes. (I very much wish I could remember the exact line.)
I do have a conspiracy theory about Mary Mack, and I hope those who’ve seen her act will back me up on this: she’s the long-lost lovechild of Maria Bamford and Steven Wright, secretly raised by down home erratics in the middle of nowhere (i.e. northern Wisconsin) in order to trigger the coping mechanism that generates professional-grade comedic skills.. It’s the only logical explanation.
Anna Matsen — a word nerd, political junkie, amateur philosopher, sushi-lover, and Nashvillian — attends as many comedy gigs as she can afford. As a grad student of English at Belmont Unversity and an English tutor at The Learning Lab, she works daily to improve her writing skills, hoping to one day write something worth a book jacket. Visit Anna on Facebook.