“Boston Doesn’t F*ck Around With Comedy” Robert Kelly and Barry Crimmins Accept Awards at Boston Comedy Fest

Photo via instagram.com/bostoncomedyshows

“Boston doesn’t fuck around with comedy,” Comedian of the Year and Medford native said while receiving his honor from the Boston Comedy Festival, also quipping, ““The reason we’re funny is because of these streets, […] because we’re miserable people.” Noting the come-up of the Somerville area where the finale was staged (“you’re good looking people, not criminals! Way to get your act together, Somerville!”), he also acknowledged the group of comedians he came up with in Boston’s comedy scene: Louis C.K., Patrice O’Neal, , and Dane Cook, before ultimately sharing, “I take a lot of pride in being from here.”

The reason we’re funny is because of these streets, […] because we’re miserable people.

Kelly’s award was presented at the Festival’s finale, during the tabulation of votes that would bestow the honor of Boston Comedy Festival winner to one of 48 competitors. Nine finalists performed their final sets before a packed audience at the Somerville Theatre: , , , , , , , , and . As expected, the final nine was a solid group, delivering consistent laughs over the course of their time on stage. As they awaited the judges’ decisions, the audience and competitors alike were also treated to a bit of much-needed wisdom from the Festival’s Lifetime Achievement Award Winner, Barry Crimmins.

Photo via instagram.com/bostoncomedyshows

“I guess I’m supposed to die after this? Not gonna happen, kids!”

Often credited with founding the Boston comedy scene in the 1970s with the founding of the Ding-Ho, Crimmins is responsible for the city’s status as a destination for budding comics. , , , and countless others cite Crimmins by name for his contributions to the scene; indeed, he was introduced by the phrase, “we don’t have time for me to go through all the people he’s inspired.” Crimmins accepted with trademark dry wit (“I guess I’m supposed to die after this? Not gonna happen, kids!”) before issuing a clarion call to action that has similarly become a trademark of his presence, and the most openly political moment of the night.

“Stand up for people in worse shape than you are. At the end of the day, when you go home, you won’t have to look for a leader because you’ll be that leader,” urged the comic, whose activism was profiled in his mentee Bobcat Goldthwait’s film Call Me Lucky. Encouraging audience members to “be loving and decent and courageous and care about people,” it was a wonderful moment to ponder the social impact that comedy can have- and a shining example of what the evening’s winner could do with their talent.

And speaking of the evening’s winner…that should be read as “winners.” A scoring tie meant that the honor of Boston Comedy Festival winner will be shared between vocal dog enthusiast Andrew Mayer and novice Home Depot-goer Drew Dunn. There’s no word on how being named Andrew played into their victory, but they nonetheless shared the final spotlight with grace.

The Boston Comedy Festival concludes with the Liquid Courage and Beer Me! Shows, as well as the Stand Up for Recovery Benefit Show, with proceeds to go to the Lenny Bruce Foundation.

Photo via instagram.com/bostoncomedyshows

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Amma Marfo

Amma Marfo is a writer, speaker, and podcaster based in Boston, MA. Her writing has appeared in Femsplain, The Good Men Project, Pacific Standard, and Talking Points Memo. Chances are good that as you're reading this, she's somewhere laughing.