At the beginning of his standup career, Paul Mecurio was being pulled in several directions at once. He had a day job on Wall Street and folks in Rhode Island trying to get him to move back to help run the family's furniture business, while he was secretly doing open mics all over Manhattan. "I tried to go home after my father died and help my mom run the business," he says. He soon discovered, however, that he was merely an errand boy and caretaker for his sometimes forgetful mother. "She'd lock customers in the store in the middle of the day. 'I gotta run to the bank.' I went in there one day, and there was this old lady in the store. She'd been locked in there for six hours." Fortunately she had a sense of humor about the situation. "I asked her what she did all that time and she said, 'I looked around a lot, and took a nap on that sofa. Oh, and is your name Paul? You have six messages.' She took messages for me!" The breaking point came when Mecurio took his mother on one of her trash-picking runs. "Not food," he explains, "but broken clocks, blenders. She grew up in the Depression." One night she found a busted clock, and told her son that the people throwing it out must be crazy. "She had no sense of irony. I went from Wall Street and marble offices to being a look-out in a bad Italian-American version of Antiques Roadshow. I knew then it was time to move on." Wednesday's show is sold out. 18+; 21+ later shows.
Feb. 8-12, 8 p.m.; Feb. 10-11, 10:30 p.m., 2012
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