Running with Scissors, a comedy improv group, is coming to Somerset Abbey on Feb. 24. From left are Tuck Tucker, Dennis Hunt and Tom Walsh. Tom Walsh Jr. photo

Our second comedic offering this month is the trio of improv masters who go by the name Running with Scissors. The group, made up of Dennis Hunt, Tom Walsh and Tuck Tucker, has spread hilarity and joy around Maine for quite some time. They’ll be heading to the Somerset Abbey in Madison on Feb. 24 for a 7 p.m. show. I had the opportunity to find out more about their act when I spoke with Tucker in a recent telephone interview from his Portland home before he hit the road. I began by asking if he was heading out for a couple of weeks of touring with his fellow comedians.

Tucker: No, it’s just work. I work in the affordable housing business so I travel to different states and work with the state agencies.

Q: I take it then that this is your bread-and-butter job?
Tucker: Yes. Comedy is the hobby — I make a little bit of money doing it, but it’s not going to pay the bills. We all work regular jobs.

Q: How long have you been doing this Running with Scissors gig?
Tucker: We’ve been together a little over (pause) well, I guess we’re right around the 20-year mark.

Q: Whoa — hello!
Tucker: Yeah, we’ve been together a long time — Tom Walsh and I were actually in an improv group prior to Running with Scissors called Instant Comedy!, so he and I have been together between 25 and 30 years. Dennis, Tom and I have been Running with Scissors for close to 20 years.

Q: I know “Weird Al” Yankovic had an album called Running with Scissors back in 1999, so when I saw the name on the Somerset Abbey event list, I wondered if it was a tribute band but dismissed that thought quickly.
Tucker: (Laughter) Yeah, no, that name just came to me while we were sitting around kind of putting the group together and trying to come up with a name. Running with Scissors just kept popping into my head. It seemed to be a great name for an improv group and then we put the tagline: “So funny it’s dangerous” and it’s worked well for us.


Q: And the hard part of this interview for me is that I can’t ask: where do you guys get your inspiration from because…
Tucker: (Laughter) We get it from the audience! Yeah, I mean obviously “Whose Line Is It Anyway?” was my inspiration. I started my journey on that. I also do stand-up, as well, and I’ve performed at Somerset Abbey doing stand-up a few times. But improv is just so much more organic, I guess, in a sense and the goal is to support the other improvers — it’s kind of like an unselfish thing in the sense that you’re not really trying to be funny but funny comes out of the scene you’re creating, so it’s just definitely different.

Q: So you prefer it over stand-up?
Tucker: Ah, I didn’t say that (chuckle)! I like them both, it’s kind of like having two kids, I can’t really pick which one. I’ll tell you this, though, doing stand-up is a job.

Q: How so?
Tucker: To do stand-up you have to sit down and take time to write your jokes, you have to find an open mic or try new jokes on a show — it’s work and I consider stand-up a job. With improv there’s no preparation, we show up, we know what games we want to do, but we have no idea what’s going to happen. So improv is fun in the fact that I don’t know what’s going to happen and it’s not stressful to do an improv show.

Q: Why’s that?
Tucker: Well, I have other performers on the stage with me and we’re working together. I’ve always said that good improv is some of the funniest stuff you’re going to see. We know what we’re doing, we’ve been together for so long now that you’re going to see a really solid improv show.

Q: Just out of curiosity, have you ever been stumped by somebody calling something out during a performance?
Tucker: No, because we have such a vast bag of tools to pull from, we’ve done thousands of shows, and I’ll tell you this: the weirder the better! We want people to think outside the box and give us really weird suggestions because that makes our show better because we’re constantly thinking outside the box. Improv is a creative art and you never know what’s going to happen which is really exciting.

Q: (Laughter) For those of us not involved, it looks terrifying!
Tucker: And that’s what I find interesting, I talk to people all the time and they’re like, “There’s no way I could do that!” and I’m thinking, “To me, it’s like the easiest thing in the world to do!”

Q: Well, Tuck is there anything that you’d like me to pass on to the folks reading this article, especially if they’ve never experienced improv before?
Tucker: Well, yeah, obviously I want to encourage people to come out and see the show and be ready to participate. I think that they would all have a really good time. If they’ve ever been to that venue they know how nice it is. I know that there’s been other improv groups that have performed there but this will be our kind of debut there, and we’re really looking forward to it … we’re really excited for it!


Lucky Clark, a 2018 “Keeping the Blues Alive” Award winner, has spent more than 50 years writing about good music and the people who make it. He can be reached at if you have any questions, comments or suggestions.

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