Catching up with Christine Hurley at Giggles Comedy Club
By Trish Castraberti
About an hour before the first of her three sold out shows began, Christine Hurley met me at Giggles to answer a few questions. When she entered(dare I say “pranced?”) into the room, her energy was palpable. As she walked from the door to the table where I eagerly awaited her arrival, there was a string of apologies for being late, quick “hellos” to familiar faces and infectious laughter as she told tales about the traffic she had just endured. When she finally settled into her seat, I became giddy with anticipation. What was this woman going to say? Buckle your seatbelt…
Q: What were you like in high school?
A: Quiet, but funny with my core group. I was a cheerleader who enjoyed studying math (no… seriously!). We used to toilet paper the trees of the opposing team’s school. One night in 1979, we went to Archbishop Williams to do the toilet papering. That’s the night I met my future husband,Jimmy Hurley. I was 16. He was 18 and it was love at first sight.
Q: Tell me how comedy started for you?
A: It was kind of a mistake. Jimmy and I have five kids and I had so many stories to tell about them, true stories – real life stuff. I’d go to a Tupperware party or stand in line at the grocery store and people would laugh at my stories. It did (and still does) make me feel good to make people laugh.
Q: When did you know you wanted to pursue comedy as a profession?
A: In 2005, my husband signed me up for a Nick at Nite show – “The Search for the Funniest Mom in America”.He sent in a videotape of me and I was called back to New York City to audition at the Laugh Factory in Times Square. 100 women were there and each was allowed a two-minute skit. Once the lights went on, BINGO, it was the most incredible moment. I had never felt so alive! There were five finalists and I came in second place. Not too shabby.
Soon after, the Boston Globe called and people became interested in talking to me. I didn’t have much material, so I began writing things about my life.
In 2008, I was performing at a little place in Plymouth (which we promptly called Christine’s Comedy Corner). The place fit about 100 people and one night comedian Johnny Pizzi came to my show. Johnny told me my act was too dirty and that I had to clean up my language (F*%$ him!). I listened to his advice because he has a huge heart and I knew he really wanted to help me.
A short time later, he called and asked me to open for Lenny Clarke at a restaurant in Marshfield. Lenny Clarke! They gave me 8minutes, but I was so excited that I rambled on for 12 minutes. Johnny told that keeping to time was important and that I blew it (but he did love my routine and promised he’d do his best to get me another gig.) Well, on June 1,2011, I was offered a spot right here at Giggles Comedy Club in Saugus! There I was with Steve Sweeney! It was the best night of my night – pure magic. It was then that I knew exactly where I belonged.
Q: Do you write your own routines?
A: Yes, but by accident. With five kids (currently ages 25, 21,19, 16, and 14), I realize that ANYTHING and EVERYTHING can be funny!
Q: Favorite club to perform in?
A: Giggles, because it’s like home to me. Mike Clarke has been a great friend and supporter and I even attended Tony V’s comedy class there. And the Prince Restaurant has so many things I love… a cozy fireplace, eggplant rollatini and meatballs! The staff at Prince even brings me a cake on my birthday(and I especially love Fiona, Jay and Ryan who have all been so supportive of me). This place is great because people can have a delicious meal, a couple drinks and they are primed for comedy. They are happy to be there!
Q: Three things you would take with you to a deserted island?
A: (1) IPhone (2) Jimmy Hurley “my nugget” and (3) A good eyebrow pencil
Q: What song would you want played at your funeral and why?
A: “The Circle Game” by Joni Mitchell. I danced with my Dad at my wedding to that song. Listen to it you’ll cry your eyes out.
If you want my campy answer, it’s “Move Bitch (Get Out The Way)” by Ludacris. Jimmy Hurley and I sing it together… He sings “Move Bitch” andI say “Get Out The Way”.
Q: What is it like being a woman in comedy?
A: Mike Clarke once said to me “If you’re a funny guy you’re gonna get work. If you’re a funny gal you’re gonna get work.” I’m safe. I’m relatable. I’m a married mother of five and I can conform to anycrowd. Some of my greatest supporters are comics (Lenny Clarke, Steve Sweeney,Johnny Pizzi, Tony V., Artie Januario, Graig Murphy) and they treat me with total respect.
Q: Your favorite comedian?
A: Sebastian Maniscalco. He’s a male version of me. He is just beyond hilarious. I always loved Carol Burnett, Cher (when she was on Sonny& Cher), and Goldie Hawn (when she was on Laugh In).
Q: Describe yourself in three words.
A: (1) Pleaser – kind of a problem sometimes, (2) Dreamer and (3) Hustler(hard worker).
Q: What would you be doing if you weren’t a comedian?
A: Something in fashion – maybe a shoe designer.
Q: We finish the interview and you step outside and find a lottery ticket that ends up winning $20 million. What would you do?
A: I’m so materialistic! I’d buy the big house, the cars, the boats,the vacations. I’d spend money like the Taliban was on the Zakim Bridge… but, I’d still do my comedy.
Soon after we finished chatting, Christine was bopping through the restaurant making her way to the Giggles stage. The crowd roared as she quipped about mixing SlimFast® with Vodka. Who knew? Then she started telling a story about her son when he was five. “OhMummy, mum, mum, mummy, mum, I’m a big boy now. I want to make my own lunch.” Later that day, she got a call from the school saying he packed left over Kung Pao chicken and two wine coolers for his lunch.
The crowd went wild as she continued to share her real life adventures and, at the end, something amazing happened. Every single person in the club stood up and gave her a standing ovation. Extraordinary times ahead are for Christine Hurley… but she’ll always remember where she came from.