Tom Papa

For comedian Tom Papa, standup is almost like therapy. "I was just on vacation with my family," he says from his home in New York City. "If I had another job, I wouldn't be able to open up about that in public. But I can go into a comedy club and start ranting about being on vacation with my family. And then I'm like, 'Now I don't have to go punch a heavy bag.' It's a rush and therapeutic all at the same time." For Papa, there was really no other line of work he could have gone into. Heavily involved in the theater department at his alma mater Rider University in New Jersey, he went on only a handful of job interviews before graduating. "I went back there to give a talk the other day," he says. "And I was talking about the importance of screwing around. I really got the creative spirit from being around the theater." Over the years, Papa has gotten a chance to do some acting, most recently in the HBO movie Behind the Candelabra. "I played Ray Arnett, Liberace's tour manager. It was the first film I worked on where they were excited to see my chest hair." While acting is great fun, Papa doesn't see anything overtaking standup as his primary passion. "You can't beat it purely as a selfish art form in show business. Movies are cool, but you don't get the rush that you do with standup." 18+.
April 25-27, 8 p.m.; April 26-27, 10:30 p.m., 2013

 
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