The Hippo


Jan 23, 2020








Courtesy photo.

More New Year’s Eve comedy

Live Free or Die Laughing marks its seventh year celebrating First Night at Portsmouth’s Sheraton Hotel with a lineup led by Boston favorite Tony V and New Hampshire’s Mike Koutrobis, dinner and a midnight Champagne toast. 
Pat’s Peak Ski Area in Henniker mixes music, comedy and skiing – the snowmaking equipment is in overdrive, and Mark Scalia, Mitch Stinson and Joe Espi are doing standup. 
Arena Nightclub in Nashua welcomes back Comedy on Purpose, while across town Alana Susko, the organization’s CEO (Comic Executive Officer?), works a humorous Sex Ed Party in Fody’s Tavern downstairs function room, part of a full-tilt New Year’s Eve bash that includes a live band upstairs. 
“It’s a laugh-out-loud adult party where the guests become a part of the show,” Susko said recently, adding that her comedy alter ego Princess Goddess will present a “demonstration of romance enhancement products from mild to wild.”
New Year’s Eve Comedy Gala
When: Thursday, Dec. 31, 6 p.m. 
Where: Headliners Comedy Club, Radisson Hotel, 700 Elm St., Manchester
Tickets: $30-$85 

Auld Laugh Syne
Make it a New Year’s Comedy Eve

By Michael Witthaus

 On Dec. 26, you can kick off your New Year’s celebration early by checking out comedian Juston McKinney’s Last Laugh at Portsmouth’s Music Hall. 

Looking back in laughter at 2015 is easy this New Year’s Eve, with multiple comedy showcases operating from the Seacoast to the ski areas. Here are a few options for joking your way to midnight, each offering the festive niceties one expects — party hats, noisemakers and glass of bubbly to welcome the ball drop — along with plenty of guffaws.
Headliners Comedy Club is the region’s biggest presence. Type “” and you get their home page, so yeah; it’s a huge deal. Their show in Manchester offers more choices than a Chinese restaurant menu, and elsewhere, Tom Clark and Matt Barry perform at Concord’s Holiday Inn, Tom Hayes works The Yard in Londonderry and Rochester’s Governor’s Inn welcomes Harrison Stebbins. There are also Headliners shows in Maine, Massachusetts and Vermont.
Billed as the largest New Year’s Eve event in New Hampshire,  the Headliner’s gala at Manchester’s Radisson Hotel operates in four separate rooms with five separate options. One offering entertainment and a room is already sold out, but still available is a package led by Dueling Pianos with Bill Connors and Ane Guigui, including a cocktail hour, three-course meal and DJ dancing until midnight. 
You can skip drinks and dinner for $35 less, or you can opt for the last packages, which cover two comedy shows, at 8:30 and 9 p.m. Each of these events features the same group of comics – headliner Brad Mastrangelo, Mike Prior, Jody Sloane and Paul Landwehr. 
For Landwehr, the night is a dream coming true. 
“I’ve always wanted to play New Year’s Eve in my hometown,” he said in a recent interview. It caps a year marked by growth for Landwehr – he played more shows than ever, including two nights in a row opening for national act Gilbert Gottfried.
“That was huge, the biggest show I’ve done,” Landwehr said. “He’s a very nice guy but so quiet, and I know I made him laugh once because I was telling him how I got the gig and I know I was funny because I can bench press 225 and be his bodyguard also.”
Landwehr added that he felt a real burst of success a few months earlier when Headliners mogul Rob Steen sent him a text message offering him some gigs. 
“There were 12 dates on it, and then I saw money next to them,” he said. “When I saw a wage for all these dates … I thought, ‘Wow, I’m finally doing this.”  
It’s amazing leap for Landwehr, who describes himself as the opposite of a natural comic. 
“I dropped out of college courses because I was so scared of oral presentations,” he said. 
Landwehr decided to sign up for classes after hearing Doug Blay talk about a comedy workshop he ran on New Hampshire Chronicle.
“I was very nervous speaking in front of people, but I’ve always made people laugh,” he said. “I thought, maybe this is what I’ve got to do.”
Overcoming those fears fueled his act. 
“Someone will come up to me at almost every single show and say, ‘Thank you for talking about the anxiety and making it funny,’” Landwehr said. “I’ve learned to make distress a funny topic … and I have literally heard people say they feel less alone because of it.” 
Steady gigging has seasoned Landwehr, who’s built his act from 5 to 25 solid minutes. He’s also steeled his nerves to an inevitably of standup comedy — though for him, the experience is a bit different. 
“I am one of the most heckled comedians ever, but it’s not an angry heckle with me,” he said. “Like, I’ll talk about heartburn and before I tell them something funny about it, they’ll start giving me advice.”
Landwehr chuckled while pondering the thought. 
“I guess I’m approachable,” he said. “A lot of rock stars have bras thrown at them. I have Tums thrown at me.”  

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