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Homespun humor

Wisconsin comedienne to hit the stage at the Landmark Mercantile in time for Valentine’s Day

January 29, 2011
By Cindy Votruba

Mary Mack doesn't mind poking fun at herself or the place she comes from.

Mack, a native of Webster, Wis., is headlining the next comedy show "My Funny Valentine's" at 8 p.m. Feb. 12 at the Landmark Mercantile in Marshall. She will be joined on stage by comediennes Amber Preston, Jamie Blanchard and Rox Tarrant.

In 2005, Mack won California's Funniest Female Contest, which led to appearances at the Vancouver Comedy Fest and Montreal's Just for Laughs Festival. She has been featured on NBC's "Last Comic Standing" and Comedy Central's Live at Gotham.

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Mack said she started doing comedy about eight years ago. She was living in Nashville, Tenn. and was part of a polka band at the time.

"My roommate kept signing me up for open mics," Mack said. "It worked out and I really liked it."

Mack has two degrees in music, with an emphasis on clarinet. That's why she does comedy, she said.

"I transitioned from music to comedy because it was easier and you didn't have to carry as much stuff," Mack said.

Mack's quirky comedy routine includes several original songs that she accompanies with her mandolin.

"It's hard to sing with a clarinet in your mouth," Mack said.

She said her songs stem from certain emotions.

"Sometimes it's anger, sometimes it's venting," Mack said.

This past week, Mack was in Seattle, Wash. and was performing at the San Francisco Sketch Festival along with Preston.

Mack had worked five years as a teacher and said it's come in handy when doing shows. If a crowd gets rowdy, she can corral it with her teacher voice.

"I always have those skills to fall back on," Mack said.

Mack said the audiences in Los Angeles, where she now lives, sometimes have a hard time understanding her Midwestern sense of humor. It depends on how "woodsy" they are.

"It's hard in L.A., people don't get out of their box," Mack said. "My jokes really have to paint a picture."

And she doesn't target anyone, Mack said.

"I'm not mean to anybody," Mack said. "I like to make fun of myself." She said she also makes fun of how sensitive people can be to a little ribbing.

"I like to do small towns because I'm from a small town," Mack said. Webster has a population of more than 650 people.

Mack's encouraging people without dates to come to the show as she plans on performing a special song for them.

"I'm just myself on stage, I'm kind of a space cadet," Mack said.



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