In the five years since her 2011 debut Bombshell (nearly to the day, according to her Facebook Memories), Kelly MacFarland has gotten comfortable- with herself, her joke-telling style, and in the onesie she wears on the cover of her new album You Woke Up Today! (released January 13 on Rooftop Records). The pajama party continued – literally – at her slumber party themed album release. Surrounded by family, friends, and longtime friends in the comedy scene, clad in their most presentable fleece and flannel, the party was everything Kelly wanted from the album itself: friendly, welcoming, and fiercely funny.
“There was a selfish motive, I have to admit- I love to be snuggly, so [the party] seemed like a great opportunity,” she said as we chatted ahead of the album’s release. That theme of being comfortable wove through much of our conversation – not just in her weekend morning routine (as detailed on the album’s “Hot Dips”), but in her set and the journey she’s taken to record it.
After an attempt to record the album at the Duplex in New York (“it didn’t feel like a live show”), she got it right the second time around at ImprovBoston- her home theater in so many ways. Fielding a show alongside comic Kendra Cunningham, Kelly loves the energy from the night of the recording. Citing Josh Gondelman’s Physical Whisper as inspiration, she aimed to craft a story-driven album that “felt intertwined, everything was like this animal that was getting fed.” Indeed, You Woke Up Today! meets its goal of being an easy listen- it is relatable, conversational, and consistently hilarious. And given the lifestyle Kelly now leads, it’s not a stretch to understand why an easy listen might be a priority.
“I’ve done a ton of things in the last five years. I got married, I’m a stepparent now…I’m a different person than I was. I’ve chilled out a little bit, I’m not as rigid. I’m more settled.” You Woke Up Today! mines this new life for laughs, and finds many; from the surprising tyranny hidden in girls’ weekends, to the needless pressure presented by Pinterest, to the album’s title track- inspired by the positive yet brutally truthful morning pep talks she gives her eleven year old stepson. It’s that latter quality – truthfulness – to which Kelly attributes her longevity (“I’ve been lucky to be able to do this a long time”) as a comedian. “If you’re not being genuine and truthful, people notice.” And with the release of the album, she’s excited to share that honesty with listeners at a time where she wants people to be able to smile, laugh, and feel a little less alone.
The release party delivered on that directive. Featuring Kelly as host to a show that included local and national talent like Lamont Price, Dana Jay Bein, Bethany Van Delft, Mike Whitman, and a number of others, guests were also treated to games, prizes, and the debut of Kelly’s new song- also called “You Woke Up Today!”
We ended our chat with a two part question inspired by the album’s title bit. In the spirit of positivity, what is Kelly excited for in the coming year? In addition to enjoying the release of the album, she’s looking forward to more writing- a web series that features her stepson, a series of short stories, and yes, a new hour too! And on the flip side, in the spirit of honesty, what is she ready to be done with? Like many, she’s starting to tire of Trump jokes. However, she recognizes that they’re not going to go away entirely – “we just need a new angle.”
You Woke Up Today! was released on January 13th with Rooftop Records, and is available now on iTunes and Bandcamp.