A lot of comedians have gotten their start at the behest of friends who insist that they should be onstage. Paul Morrissey can't imagine having had that kind of support. "I had a group of friends, and everybody was funny," he recalls, "but it was always about picking on each other. Even if you talked to my friends from back then now, they'd say, 'He's a comedian? That's unbelievable.'" To a kid growing up in Upstate New York, a career in comedy seemed like a fanciful pursuit. "It was like saying you wanted to be a wizard," he jokes. So instead of comedy, Morrissey wound up playing basketball despite being, as he describes himself, "short and slow," and he became quite adept. Indeed, he could have played professionally, though not in the NBA. "I could have played with some friends in Ireland, or I could have played for the Washington Generals." That's not a joke. Playing for the Harlem Globetrotters' perennial doormat was a possibility. "Looking back, it would have been a good story to talk about," he says. "But back then I was too prideful. 'I'm not going to be a professional loser.' And I would have been one of those guys who said, 'Screw it; we're going to win tonight.' I would have gotten fired." 18+; 21+ later shows.
June 6-10, 8 p.m.; June 8-9, 10:30 p.m., 2012