Saturday, May 18, 2013
Margaret Cho will perform Saturday at the Maine Comedy Festival.
Austin Young photo
Ian Harvie will perform at the Maine Comedy Festival this weekend.
Kevin Neales photo
MAINE COMEDY FESTIVAL
WHEN: Thursday to Saturday
WHERE: Bethel Inn and Resort, 21 Broad St.
HOW MUCH: Friday, $20; Saturday, $50; festival pass, $65
INFO & SCHEDULE: mainecomedyfest.com
8 P.M. THURSDAY
8 P.M. FRIDAY
7 P.M. SATURDAY
9 P.M. SATURDAY
MARGARET CHO will be returning to Maine this fall with her new show, "Mother," a collection of all the material she's ever done about her mother and a nontraditional look at motherhood.
WHEN: 8 p.m. Sept. 29
WHERE: State Theatre, 609 Congress St., Portland
HOW MUCH: $30 to $45
Harvie drove out of Portland on May 13, 2006, in search of better opportunities out West. He spent five weeks getting to California, working in comedy clubs along the way.
A few months later, he was in a tiny barroom in east L.A. called Akbar, where Cho was doing a practice set. Harvey went up to talk with her afterward, and they connected.
Then the unthinkable happened.
"I got scooped up by Margaret, and I toured with her for three years," Harvie said. "That's really rare. It's really, really rare. My story is really unusual. You don't just bump into a comic at a club and they say, 'Hey, let me see your reel,' and then they take you on the road. It just doesn't happen like that."
What was it that Cho saw in Harvie that night?
"I think he's really funny, and he's really different in the world of comedy," Cho said. "I always try to find people to work with who are really unique and special and ready to work. I have people that have worked as openers for me for years who are doing really well now. I always think it's a good way to give back to the comedy community by helping newer comics."
Cho's friendship with Harvie has brought her to Maine several times -- most recently in January, when she came to Portland to executive produce a one-hour comedy special that Harvie was filming.
This weekend, she'll be back as the headliner at the Maine Comedy Festival in Bethel. And on Sept. 29, she'll bring her new show, a nontraditional look at motherhood called simply "Mother," to the State Theatre in Portland.
Cho has big things going on in her life right now, including an Emmy nomination for her spot-on and hilarious portrayal of the North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il on the NBC show "30 Rock."
"I'm really excited, and I'm going to take my parents to the awards ceremony, because they love that kind of stuff," Cho said. "My award gets presented the week before, at the Creative Emmys. I think if we win, we get to present at the telecast, so it's great. I've only participated in the Golden Globes before. I've never actually done other televised (awards) shows like that. It's really a thrill."
Asked if she'll continue portraying Kim Jong Il on "30 Rock" next season, she said she doesn't know yet.
"I'd love to. That's something I would really enjoy doing," she said. "It's a lot of work, actually, to get into the hair."
Cho's appearances on "30 Rock," along with the Lifetime series "Drop Dead Diva" and "Dancing With the Stars" (which she also says she'd love to do again), have garnered a lot of national attention. But she says she likes performing at venues like the Maine Comedy Festival because of the time it gives her with other comics.
"I enjoy other comics and getting to see people enjoy other comics," Cho said. "It's rare that I get to work with other comics on a big show, and usually you don't get to do that unless you're at a festival. So it's great for me to see who's out there and what they're doing. These are all my friends."
The festival line-up also includes Myq Kaplan, a finalist from the reality show "Last Comic Standing"; L.A. comic Sarah Hyland; and several Maine comics.
Harvie started the Maine Comedy Festival because he wanted to create a destination festival where people could come and see not only headliners like Cho, "but also see home-grown talent right here in Maine's backyard -- like my friend John Ater, who's been at it for almost as long as I have; Stephanie Doyle, who won Portland's funniest professional contest; and Steve Caouette, who is unbelievable."
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