Sunday, March 22, 2009

Bobby Collins on Boston

There are few places Bobby Collins hasn’t played in this country over the past decade and a half or so. And since he first came to Boston years ago, the landscape here has changed. So I thought I’d take advantage of the fact that he was coming to yet another Boston comedy venue – Showcase Live! at Patriot Place – to pick his brain a bit about what he’s seen on the road and what might be different.

When did you first play Boston?

Coming from New York and then moving to Ca., a booker asked me if I ever played Boston. In my world, there was nothing beyond New York - I started there, I earned my degree there. I went to Boston, the waves parted. I have played Boston for the last 14 years. It’s become a mainstay for material and an oasis for my head.

How many different clubs in Boston have you played?

Many places. Let’s take a look – I’d say at least 20 different venues including corporate gigs in hotels, opening gigs for Cher and Julio Iglesias, various comedy clubs (i.e. Comedy Connection, Nicks).

How do you think it compares to other cities around the country?

Boston and New England people are the most educated, fun loving, people - they just get it. They're up on news and they read. They're informed and not afraid to let you know how they feel about a topic whether it offends them or not.

Do you find your audiences are different in Boston than in other cities?

Audiences in Boston are attune to what's going on in the world and they realize if we as a country were not consumed with TV and sports we'd we in our basements cleaning up our muskets to overthrow this government.

What are your favorite places to play around the country?

New York, Boston, Miami, Vancouver, Maine, Vermont, Atlantic City, NJ, Las Vegas, New Orleans, Hermosa Beach, Ca.

What do you look for in a club?

In a club – sight lines, sound, mic with long cord, how I'm treated, no ego, good reputation, kind management, great audiences, room to get around. Clean green room, tight security, good staff and friendly, easy people to work with. And above all honesty when getting paid (esp when working on a percentage basis).

How has that changed from when you started out to when you became an established veteran?

Comedy was a lot smarter, more current, more original, we reflected our culture, the country, our own lives. Nowadays the comics are like a programmed predictability of a General Motors assembly plant - its all the same. Its no longer an obsession, it’s a way I can get on a shit TV show to make more money than I'm making now. One thing missing – quality.

What do you look for when you decide to record a CD or a DVD?

I look into myself to see where I'm at at a particular moment in time. Has my material progressed and changed? Have I changed? Remember, growth means change, change doesn't always mean growth. Just because you change your hairstyle doesn't mean you've changed as a person. When I find I've grown enough with more material, it’s time for another CD or DVD.

How many different clubs have you recorded in?

Five different venues I've recorded in - including Boston.

What’s next for you?

Presently working on new material and perfecting it in clubs for a new CD - working on two new projects that would allow a lot more people to discover the Comedy of Bobby Collins . I'm exactly in my career when I should be right now - Thank God .

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