From Iceland to Mermaid Inn; return to in-person laughs

by Len Lear
Posted 8/18/21

Marc Kaye will go a long way to get a few laughs. A long, long way. The local writer, actor, musician and stand-up comic (as opposed to a lie-down comic) who will be headlining “Will Work for Laughs,” at the Mermaid Inn on Saturday, Aug. 28.

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From Iceland to Mermaid Inn; return to in-person laughs

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Marc Kaye will go a long way to get a few laughs. A long, long way. The local writer, actor, musician and stand-up comic (as opposed to a lie-down comic) who will be headlining “Will Work for Laughs,” at the Mermaid Inn on Saturday, Aug. 28, 7:30 p.m., recently did his stand-up act at a club in Iceland and “killed.” (We have to take his word for it; there is no video.) The Mermaid Inn performance will be in-person, not remote.

“My son actually got me the gig,” said Kaye, 51, in a Zoom interview last week. “We were in Iceland on a vacation, and my son went into the club and told them about me. It worked because they let me go on. In fact, I was right before the headline act. The crowd loved it. They all speak English, better than we do.

“We were competing with the sun. The sun does not come out much in Iceland, and when it does, the people want to be outdoors. It did happen to be sunny outside when we were performing inside, so there were only about 15 to 20 people in the audience.”

The Mermaid Inn, of course, has been known as a music venue for many years, but they will be experimenting with “Will Work for Laughs” on Aug. 28 to see if there is an audience for live comedy in Chestnut Hill, where Kaye and four of his professional comic friends, who have been working recently from their couches, will be doing their shtick.

Kaye (born Kerachsky), whose comic heroes are Gary Gulman, George Carlin, Steven Wright and Sarah Silverman, graduated from SUNY Binghamton University with a degree in biology and psychology and then worked in medical technology and marketing as well as for the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection.

“I worked with sludge, which stinks,” he said. “In the back of my mind I had this dream of writing for a TV show or doing stand-up comedy, but I was afraid to try it because I had a wife and kids. Two weeks before I was 41, though, my kids went roller skating in Northeast Philly, and there was a club next door that had an open mic night for comedy. So I decided to try it.

“I wound up being the 16th person to perform, and I did have some material prepared. I didn't get on until 10:30 p.m., and there were about 25 people in the audience. One great big guy was heckling some other comics, but he did not heckle me. To me that was success. I became a little bit addicted. No matter how bad it goes, I wanted to do it again. I got tired of sitting at a computer all day.”

Kaye continued doing his thing at open mic nights in center city clubs, sometimes not getting on until midnight but refining his material and always writing new material. Eventually he got paid to do his act and has now been a regular on the comedy circuit for several years, spinning tales of growing up in Connecticut, navigating fatherhood, marriage, then divorce. He does not do “blue” material.

Marc has performed in clubs and venues nationally, insisting that there are no real regional differences that can’t be overcome with humor. In addition, he has performed at fundraisers for churches and synagogues (he is ecumenical), a firehouse, golf club (not a putter), dance studio, non-profit organizations and old age homes, which are “the toughest audiences.” He has spoken at corporate conferences on topics ranging from marketing to “the hidden superpower of rejection!”

An avid writer and musician, Marc has also developed several scripts, songs, three web series and numerous articles and was a manager in corporate marketing for several Fortune 500 corporations. His co-written play, “Laws of Motion,” was selected for the 2020 Edinburgh Fringe Festival, and his articles have been featured in several publications such as Working Mother, Chutzpah Magazine and Stage Time.

He is the founder of Eliro, a company that combines the discipline of marketing and the creativity of humor and improv to help train, develop content and motivate employees.

For more information: marckayetoday or marc@eliro.us. Len Lear can be reached at lenlear@chestnuthilllocal.com

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