Do you enjoy a good laugh? How about a lot of them? If so, your prayers have been answered with the return of live stand-up comedy as three comedians get ready to take the stage at Johnson Hall in Gardiner on Oct. 22 for a 21-plus show.

To give you a heads-up for this performance, I recently telephoned Mark Turcotte at his Lewiston home — he’s the founder of Maine Event Comedy and a stand-up comic in his own right — to learn about what folks can expect this coming Saturday night.

Q: Can you talk a little bit about what’s coming up here at Johnson Hall and this comedy show?

Turcotte: Oh, absolutely. Maine Event Comedy is a series of shows that I’ve been producing for nearly two years now. I get to travel a lot being a comedian, so I meet all kinds of great comics and I like to bring them to Maine for the most part. And there are also a lot of funny comedians in the state of Maine that people might not know about that I like to put on some of the biggest stages we have in the state. I definitely think Johnson Hall is one of those. It’s an incredible venue, and we started doing shows there last year.

Mike Miclon, the executive artistic director, contacted me about bringing stand-up comedy to Johnson Hall, something they’d never done before. All I asked him was that we’d have an age restriction on the show because I don’t like censoring any of the comedians. I just like them to go up and do their set the best way that they can do it. He agreed to that without hesitation, and we’ve done three shows so far and I believe they all sold out.

Q: That’s not a bad record by any stretch. What’s this next performance going to be like?

Turcotte: Well, the show we have coming up on Oct. 22 will feature Dan Crohn, who travels nationally and has opened for Sebastian Maniscalo — who has a special on Netflix and is very popular. Dan has just released his debut album called “It’s Enough Already,” so he’s very excited about that and he’s excited to be coming to Maine. He’s from the Boston area. We’re very much looking forward to that show. It’s going to be a three-comedian show plus myself. I like to host and just keep everything running smoothly.

Q: Who are the other two comedians on the bill?

Turcotte: Mike Levinsky will open. Mike’s a comedian out of Portland. He runs the Portland Comedy Showcase which is, I think, the longest running weekly showcase in Portland if not Maine. I think it’s been going on for about four years now. And it looks like Paul Hunt will be our featured performer, and Paul was named Maine’s Funniest Comic in 2008 and has been performing ever since.

Q: So both Paul and Mike are from Maine.

Turcotte: Correct, yeah.

Q: That’s cool. Now, will you have a bit yourself?

Turcotte: Yeah, when I host I usually go up and do about 10 minutes just to get the crowd warmed up for the opening comic, and then I come out throughout the show to introduce the others.

Q: You said you’ve been doing this for two years now?

Turcotte: Producing shows for Maine Event Comedy, yes. I started doing stand-up comedy four years ago.

Q: Do you get out to perform a lot yourself?

Turcotte: I do, yeah. I’ve been doing stand-up, I would call it full-time, for the past couple of years. I’ve performed in nine states. I was a finalist in the “Funniest Comic on the East Coast” contest in 2014. That was at Mohegan Sun. I performed recently in Sarasota, Florida, at the World Series of Comedy where I was a semi-finalist for that venue. I’ve performed at probably 50 or 60 venues in Maine plus all throughout the six states of New England.

Q: It sounds like you made the right career choice for sure.

Turcotte: Yeah, it’s been a passion of mine since I was 12 years old and saw a George Carlin special on HBO. I never really knew how to get started and never really pursued it, and then life happened: college, jobs, a wife, kids and all that. Then at the age of 42 I said, “You know what? I really want to do this.” And I saw an ad for a comedy workshop and I attended. Ten minutes in the workshop I knew this was something I was going to be doing for a very long time.

Q: Is there anything you’d like to pass on to the folks reading this article?

Turcotte: Basically just that even though you may not have heard of the names of these comedians, there are very funny people in Maine and beyond — throughout New England — that are working very hard to make you laugh. It would be great if they’d come out and support local and live stand-up comedy, and Johnson Hall is one of the best venues to do that.

Lucky Clark has spent more than 45 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at [email protected] if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.