Day 27: Mary Mack

Day 27. Each day in May, I’m sharing a stand up set that I like and discussing why I enjoy it so much. Today’s is a 2016 appearance on Conan by Mary Mack, and here’s some reasons I’m into it:

• OFF THE CUFF. Generally, the material performed on a TV spot has been fixed down to a T, since the comic is filmed only once and wants to ensure it’s airtight. But when the audience gives Mary a fragmented applause, she goes off script to make a comment about it to Conan. It’s a gamble, but it pays off. Not only is what she says self-deprecating and humorous, but she also makes me feel she’s creating a fresh experience and not just regurgitating her lines. (For Being In The Moment, see also: Bernie Mac, Day 22.)

• PHRASE ANALYSIS. Mary gets me laughing in this set by playing with some phrases, scrutinizing the implications of “Live in the now,” “Bay Area,” and “I am not the victim.” In addition to her observation about the phrases, she personalizes them, talking about how she has a tough time living in the now or how she wouldn’t ever say she lives “inland.” In doing so, she gives me her fresh and funny perspective to phrases I’ve only passively heard before and also adds punchlines to her set. (For Language, see also: Maggie Maye, Day 20.)

• UNIQUE PERSONA. With her voice, appearance, and material, Mary’s persona is distinct. And while being unique isn’t enough to make me laugh, in Mary’s case, her persona enhances the humor of her already well-crafted jokes. The midwestern accent and petite appearance lure me into expecting soft jokes, but she instead delivers cutting material that tears at West Coast pretentiousness. Like a lot of comedy I enjoy, it’s a surprise. By keeping me off balance, she keeps me laughing.

Hope you enjoyed it, and for more Mary Mack, check out her IG: @marymackcomedy