2015-08-06 / Front Page

Bob Marley Headlines Comedy Series

By James Merolla

Comedic insights often focus on common experiences (“Did you ever notice…?”) and strange coincidences.

Take comedian Bob Marley’s name for instance. He isn’t Jamaican. He doesn’t sing reggae. And he’s alive and LIVE headlining the Newport Comedy Series at the Hyatt Regency Newport on Friday, Aug. 14.

“My family is Irish and they had no idea who Bob Marley was. It wasn’t until about junior high when people started cracking jokes about my name. When I started stand-up, I never knew how far it would go, so I just kept my name,” said Marley from a baseball field in Maine. “By the time I would’ve considered changing it, I had already built up a following.

“I never do jokes about it because I never wanted it to be a hook, although I have got Bob Marley’s checks in the mail from the television union. I returned all of them because I believe his family is struggling,” he laughed.

Marley is from Maine, that rural opus just south of Canada that begets New England comparisons to the backwoods movie, “Deliverance,” and is rife with strange behavior comedy nuggets.

“When you spend six months a year looking out the window saying, 'Look at this crap!' You start to become a little bit nuts. We are definitely off center up here. We seem to have a bit more time on our hands to investigate the minutia in life,” said Marley of his base.

But playing Newport isn’t as far afield as you might think, when compared to the great seaport towns in Maine, remembering that if you measure all the inlets and outlets of the jagged coast of that state, the coastline is longer than California’s.

“I love Newport. It reminds me a bit of a lot of towns in Maine – lots of T-shirt shops, bars and people making taffy. The last time I was there I watched somebody from New York City buy a seashell,” added Marley. “Any shows in New England are a blast for me. Everybody seems to have their finger on the same pulse.”

But playing other states makes for ample opportunity to skewer this area gently.

“The audience responds well to a sarcastic Irish guy from New England. It makes them feel good when they hear about how miserable life can be here,” said Marley.

Marley is billed as the “King of New England Comedy,” a moniker his agent coined.

“I would probably call myself the court jester of New England comedy,” he said. “I told him [his rep] it is one step away from becoming a mattress salesman. The first time I saw that I laughed. He just kept going with it.”

At heart, wearing a baseball cap backwards, Marley is just a middle aged married guy with kids who do the same things kids everywhere do. He was interviewed while watching his son play Little League up north.

“I noticed that even kids in Little League scratch their crotch. I also noticed that all of the coaches actually have kids on the teams. When we were kids, our Little League coach was some creepy dude in a Dodge Omni,” said Marley.

Michael Speirs, a former New York school teacher, opens for Bob Marley on Aug. 14. For more information, go to newportcomedy.com


WHEN: Friday, Aug. 14, 8 p.m.
WHERE: Hyatt Regency, Goat
INFO: 14+ show

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