Tim Harmston on Wife Mary Mack, Minnesota vs. L.A.

When a comic gets married, the standup act often changes a little. For Tim Harmston, who married fellow comedian and Wisconsinite Mary Mack, things changed quite a bit.

"We've been working together since we got married a couple of years ago," Harmston says. "We've been working together almost exclusively, because we have our rule that we can't go out on separate tours because it's real hard to be far away from each other for that long."

[jump] Usually, they take turns opening for each other. The fact that the two are so distinct in their comedy styles is a treat for the audience. "I think people enjoy that there are two comics from the same geographical area, but have completely different styles."

Lately Mack has tried to build on that dynamic. "She's trying to make us like a comedy duo. Which is ridiculous, because she has Groundlings training, so her improv skills are way more advanced than mine," he chuckles. "I'm just trying to keep up with her, and it becomes 'The Mary Mack Show,' and her mute husband Tim Harmston. But we enjoy when we get to be onstage together. It's fun to goof around, and the audiences seem to like it."

Both started their standup careers in Minneapolis. When Harmston first met Mack, he was smitten. "Pretty much the first time that I saw her I thought she was someone I was deeply interested in because she's beautiful and funny and highly intelligent, and we have a lot of shared heritage and common hobbies and interests. I pursued her pretty hard."

The couple split time between California and Minnesota. "We are really deeply connected to Minnesota," he says. "It's been a real challenge to break free and move to L.A. full-time. There are opportunities in both places, and we've been able to take advantage of opportunities in both places. We like nothing more than being up on Lake Superior in July and August. That's where we go to recharge our batteries and write jokes."

Sometimes they'll bounce ideas off of each other, but it's mostly Harmston doing the bouncing. "We're very careful about critiquing each other's acts," he says. "She doesn't really like when I suggest things. I usually keep my mouth shut. I ask for her help more than she asks me. She has a master's degree, for crying out loud, so she knows about editing, word economy, and word efficiency. So she knows a lot more about writing."


Tim Harmston

Acme Comedy Company

708 North First St., Minneapolis


$18; $25-$55 New Year's Eve

8 and 10:30 p.m. Wednesday, Friday through Saturday

For tickets, call 612-338-6393 or visit