Stage » Comedy

For Christian Finnegan, standup comedy beats the classroom ... for now.



Making his way through New York's comedy scene, Christian Finnegan found comfort knowing that if things didn't work out, he could always just move somewhere less expensive. Now that he's a regular on VH1's Best Week Ever with his own Comedy Central special, the thought hardly crosses his mind. You can hear the jokes that keep Christian flush in New York City when he performs several shows at The Improv this week.


Do you have anything to say to people concerned about the troubling state of our economy?
It's hard to have any idea of what to tell people who are struggling, since my version of struggling, even at its worst, was in New York where, if things got really bad, I could have just left. Whereas if you're really struggling in West Virginia, what then?

Where would you have gone?
I could've moved back to Massachusetts or somewhere more affordable. It may have felt like failure, but lots of people would love the ability to know that they could fail if they wanted to.

What would you do after that?
I'd like to think that I'd move to Ibiza and rent out paddle boats for a living, but chances are I'd probably move back to Massachusetts to be a dorm parent in my old performing-arts high school and tell all those young aspiring actors and writers about my crazy experiences in New York, just so I could feel valid.

I wonder how teachers feel knowing that their profession is a viable option if you fail at a vocation.
There's some truth to it, but "teacher" is also one of the things I could always envision myself as. I think being a teacher's a great way to live, and most of the people who I admire and whose opinions I still value have been teachers.

What do you think of the widely held belief that a mediocre school project can be made better with some comedy?
What people really want is not to make something funny, but to make something amusing -- which, in many ways, is the opposite of funny. To amuse someone is to eliminate discomfort and awkwardness, kind of like a massage for the brain, while to be funny is to point out awkwardness and discomfort. Everyone thinks they want funny, but they really want amusement. I can't get bent out of shape about it because I've chosen a profession that, when it's done well, looks easy and effortless. So I can't complain when people think it requires no effort. It's like a cook getting mad because somebody makes a Hot Pocket. Everyone needs to eat, and everyone wants to joke and laugh.


Christian Finnegan performs at 8 p.m. Thu., Aug. 21; 8 p.m. Fri., Aug. 22; 8 and 10 p.m. Sat., Aug. 23; and 9 p.m. Sun., Aug. 24. The Improv, 166 E. Bridge St., The Waterfront, Homestead. $15. 412-462-5233

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