There aren't many comedians who boast as much charm and whimsy as Mary Mack. Raised in the woodsy frontier of Webster, Wisconsin, Mack spent the majority of her upbringing penning jokes and plucking her mandolin, an instrument she's incorporated into her act. Since then, she's become a staple on the local comedy scene and appeared on the last season of NBC's Last Comic Standing and the ever-popular comedy podcast WTF with Marc Maron.
This year, she'll be hosting the 10th iteration of her annual holiday meat raffle variety show at the Comedy Corner Underground, and will be flanked by locals that include comedians Rana May and Shelly Paul, Duluth gypsy ska outfit Woodblind, and poet Paul Dickinson.
City Pages: Where'd you do your very first set?
Mary Mack: My first set was at a poetry night for really smart black people.
CP: How'd it go?
MM: They were super supportive. I was so bad, they couldn't tell if it was comedy or just really bad poetry.
CP: What's up with your tiny guitar?
MM: It's a mandolin. I once tried to play really it well, but people preferred it to just be simple and funny. I'm no Steve Martin. I did study clarinet in college, so I'll play that a little on this show, too. Accordionist Karen Townsend will be playing with me.
CP: Who are your comedy heroes?
MM: Steve Martin, Catherine O'Hara, Louie Anderson, Bob Newhart, Ellen Degeneres, Lizz Winstead, and Roseanne Barr.
CP: Your husband is local comedian Tim Harmston. Do you think Tim's funny?
MM: Yes, Tim's funny. He's watching football next to me.
CP: Do you think I'm funny?
MM: You seem funny, or at least a little "off."
CP: Where's the strangest place you've done comedy?
MM: Either a tattoo parlor, or a furniture factory during the day.
CP: Why is your new album called Pig Woman?
MM: I have long, skinny arms that are really good for birthing pigs. I learned that at the State Fair. You can get my CD Pig Woman on iTunes. If you like it, please put a review up there!
CP: What's your favorite thing about comedy?
MM: Seeing different towns, and hearing about the lives of the people that live there.
CP: What's your least favorite thing about comedy?
MM: Selling T-shirts after the show, because I can't talk and do it at the same time. Does anybody want to do this for me in exchange for tickets ever?
CP: Who are some up-and-coming Minneapolis comics that audiences should look out for?
MM: Robert Fones, Shelly Paul, Joey Hamburger, and the Boy Kisses sketch crew.
CP: If you could spend the rest of your life trapped inside one movie, which one would it be and why?
MM: Christmas Vacation with Chevy Chase. It's funny and loving all at the same time. I would want it to not be winter at some point, though.
IF YOU GO:
Mary Mack's North Star Comedy Hour and Meat Raffle
Comedy Corner Underground
1501 Washington Ave. S., Minneapolis
6:30 and 8 p.m. Tuesday, December 22