The Hippo


Jun 2, 2020








Greater Boston Comedy Relay
When: Friday, June 22, at 9 p.m.
Where: The Shaskeen, 909 Elm St. in Manchester
Tickets: $5 at the door

Funny guy challenges city
Hometown comic made good returns for benefit show

By Michael Witthaus

Comedian Nick Lavallee aims high these days, and why shouldn’t he? Back in March, Jamie Masada — a super-connected agent whose credits include placing Jim Carrey on In Living Color — gave him a call.

“The Quincy Jones of comedy, on my cell phone,” Lavallee says. A couple of weeks later he found himself working a crowd at The Laugh Factory, an iconic club on the Vegas strip.

Not his hometown of Manch Vegas, but the real one in the Nevada desert. He did a couple of sets to open for Colin Kane. Later, Lavallee and his brother clowned around in front of the club’s marquee and posted the pictures on Facebook. 

“Of course, the week after that I was playing to six people at the Portland Comedy Connection,” Lavallee says with a self-deprecating laugh. “Back to Earth again.”

But mostly Lavallee is flying these days. His recent CD/DVD The Other Dude began as a Kickstarter project and blossomed into much success for the Manchester native. Now he’s booked summer appearances at the Los Angeles Laugh Factory and is working out a deal to play Chicago. Life is good, with the high-resolution photo of Lavallee, microphone in hand and the Laugh Factory behind him, opening even more doors.

This all means that Lavallee’s attitude about his latest project, a fundraiser at the Shaskeen in Manchester is — well, the sky’s the limit.

The June 22 show is one of a series done for the Greater Boston Comedy Relay as part of the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life. Previous events were held at venues like Nick’s Comedy Stop, Dick’s Beantown Comedy Vault and Mottley’s Comedy Club raised several thousand dollars, with more than 30 of the region’s top comics chipping in.

Lavallee hopes the Granite State will top all the previous efforts.

“I wanted to do something special in Manchester,” he says. “I decided I wanted to up the ante and raise two grand for cancer. I want to raise more money than any single one of the Boston shows.”

Jenny Z is among the comics appearing. Born in the Midwest and known for her keen observations — a bawdy bit about the variety of Boston accents is particularly winning — she was featured in the Funny Females Showcase at last year’s Boston Comedy Festival. Portland funny man Matt Kona and Ted Pettingell also perform, along with Rock 101 evening man Ioanis, who’s relatively new to the comedy scene but, in Lavallee’s words, “wicked funny.”

He feels the Shaskeen is a good location for the benefit: “It’s really the only venue that will do original acts of any sort and take that risk.  Between doing the open mikes and letting me headline every couple of months, it’s great.”

Lavallee will do standup and multimedia during his set.

“I’m a video editor — of course I have a day job, for health insurance,” he says. “When I started doing standup, I decided I should combine the two and do funny videos, make them the catalyst for people wanting to see me live.  Then people would come to the shows and compliment the YouTube videos. I started to wish that I’d do some of that stuff.”

He did a show with Super Secret Project, a comedy trio whose video “Granite State of Mind” gave them national recognition, and realized it was possible to do both on stage. 

“After seeing how they do it, now I know,” Lavallee says. “I was inspired by them.”

SSP front man Christian Wisecarver has been a mentor. Both post regularly to sites like YouTube and “When we get together we talk about making videos, and Internet oddities like traffic statistics,” he says.

Lavallee and SSP will again perform together on July 20 at Portsmouth’s Music Hall Loft.  After that, he heads to the West Coast.
The rush of success is exciting. “I didn’t have a ton of goals, they were little incremental steps,” he says. “I do have this one wish, but I blew my candles out on it so I can’t say what it was. I hope the L.A. shows go well, and that I get out to Chicago.”

Currently, however, his thoughts are on the upcoming show. 

“I want to raise two grand, dammit,” he says. “I’m hoping Manchester can cheer on someone trying to succeed in the same way they cheer on the Silvermans and Sandlers who have already achieved it.”

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