January 29, 2020, Cape Cod Online, By Barbara Clark, contributing writer
–The five-night comedy series starts Saturday with Comedy on the Road, a mix of three different types of acts.
What’s hot and what’s not in the current comedy scene? Four or five years ago, “political material was comedy gold,” says Boston-based comedian and promoter-manager Gary Marino.
But not so much anymore.
Now people look to comedy more “as escape” from day-to-day stresses, Marino says. And he’s noticed “a definite uptick” in the number of people who stay after a show to tell him how much they enjoyed it, describing how they “just needed to laugh more.”
That’s what Marino aims to do with the 18th season of the winter Comedy Dinner Series at the Cape Codder Resort & Spa in Hyannis, which will begin Saturday night with Comedy on the Road, a mix of three quite different acts. Marino oversees the shows for Harmon-Marion LIVE entertainment group, plus he’s part of one of Saturday night’s acts and will also emcee.
- What: “Comedy on the Road”
- When: 7 p.m. Saturday
- Where: Cape Codder Resort & Spa, 1225 Iyannough Road (Route 132), Hyannis
- Admission: $59.95 includes dinner buffet and comedy show; a limited number of show-only tickets are available at $25
- Reservations and information: 508-534-5511; www.capecodderresort.com/comedy
“I like producing and then being part of the show,” he says in a phone interview from Los Angeles. “I call myself the PPW: “Producer, Performer, Whatever.”
Saturday’s Comedy on the Road will include comedian Marty Caproni, whose act has appeared in many venues as well as on Sirius XM Radio and the All Things Comedy Network. Marino describes Caproni as a storyteller/comic. Stand-up often involves quick setups and punchlines, he says, while “Marty tells longer stories, peppered with funny lines.”
Also looking for laughs will be John Turco, a familiar figure on the Boston-Providence comedy circuit. Marino calls Turco skilled at “observational comedy,” voicing “various character types” that show up in everyday situations. As the father of young children, Marino adds, Turco’s also tuned to the humor that can arise in parental situations.
The World Gone Crazy duo of Marino (the funny guy and drummer) and Bryson Lang (on guitar) will showcase their rock ‘n’ roll comedy band. The act contains parodies of commercials as well as musical spoofs. One segment, called the “Incoherent Tour,” is a comic take on popular artists who pen lyrics that no one really understands.
The rest of the series is just as varied. Mentalist Jon Stetson will return with his Psychic Comedy Shows on Feb. 29 and April 4. On March 14, New York comedians Tom Briscoe and Mark Riccadonna will perform a St. Patrick’s Day show called “Gaelic vs. Garlic,” described as the “funny side of growing up Irish vs. Italian,” including stand-up and audience participation.
New to Cape Cod will be the father-son duo of Marty and Charlie Nadler, wrapping the season on April 11 with “Happier Days with the Nadlers,” described as “clean, nostalgic” humor. The elder Nadler, says Marino, is “classic Hollywood,” and wrote for such TV shows as “Laverne & Shirley,” “Happy Days” and “The Odd Couple.”
Comedy’s not easy, according to Marino, and “you can get a tough crowd.” Long before the show starts, he says, you sneak a look at the audience “to get the feel of the room.” Clues come from how they’re reacting to the host, or their casual conversation while taking in the show.
“You sometimes have to switch tracks,” he says, once you’ve seen what a particular audience likes, whether it’s storytelling or more interaction with the comedian. Sometimes they “want to be the show,” he says, and the first few minutes of the act will tell.
What’s “in,” he says, is comedy that results from the stuff people “can relate to in their own lives,” like financial crises, bad drivers, weight issues and other common problems that hit close to home. Comedy can be “therapy,” he adds. Instead of road rage, you can find humor in the situation.
“Standup is the hardest thing to do,” he adds. It’s public speaking raised to another level: “Your job is to hold an audience with humor, make them laugh.”