Comedian Moody McCarthy to bring laughs in Shippensburg
SHIPPENSBURG, Pa. — Moody McCarthy has been a comedian for half of his life.
The 50-year-old Syracuse, N.Y., native said he was bitten early by the comedy bug, but it took him a long time to try standup.
“I grew up around funny people. There was a lot of funny people in my family and just in the neighborhood, some funny characters. But to think that I could do it was probably towards the end of high school. Maybe I had an inkling that I could write something funny and then I had to get the nerve to get on stage,” he said during a telephone interview.
That inkling paid off well for McCarthy, who has been featured on “Last Comic Standing,” “America’s Got Talent” and “Gotham Comedy Live.” He’s also appeared on “Conan,” “Late Show with David Letterman” and “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” He will bring his show to The Shippensburg Comedy Club at Courtyard by Marriott on Saturday, Jan. 6, where he said he also performed in 2017, along with club manager Seth Knorr.
“Seth is a good comedy guy,” McCarthy said. “I like his comedy, it’s a good time.”
In addition to emulating family and friends, McCarthy said he also drew inspiration from TV comics.
“I remember growing up, I’d stay up later than I probably should’ve of, and I’d watch ‘The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson,’ and Steven Wright was a guy I thought was great, and Jerry Seinfeld, and pretty much all of them. And really all of ’em. Pretty much any stand up on The Tonight Show, I really was pretty amazed by. That was always my favorite segment,” he recalled.
Today, McCarthy said in his comedy, he focuses mostly on things he knows.
“My show is a lot of family stuff. I got little kids, I’m like an old dad, and I’m from a big family. I guess I do a lot of family stuff. And then just a little bit of travel, I’m a big sports fan, I joke about not joking about politics, movie stuff, not much pop culture stuff. I’m a movie fan, and that’s about it,” he said.
McCarthy said being a father to two young girls increased his joke telling repertoire.
“Any kind of life change I think it good for a comic. It just gives you a new mine to go down. But the kids have been great. They’re very funny and I can kind of interact with the parents in the crowd and then I still have the jokes about being a single bachelor. It just gives you more in common with the whole room.”
As for coming up with new material, McCarthy makes notes and goes back to them later.
“If something occurs to me, I jot it down on my phone. Just the kernel of the idea and enough for me to remember what it was. And then once in a while, I’m not real disciplined about it, but once in awhile, I’ll try to cull together some things that might work together. Like sometimes I ... if you get a couple of jokes, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts if you string them along in the right way, you can get on a little roll,” he said.
He said he’ll look for ways to tie some of the stuff together.
“Then sometimes when I’m just going on stage at a low-pressure type of show, I try to look at my phone right before I go up and I’ll try to refresh a couple of jokes I’m trying to work on or improve. But the bulk of act is ... stuff I’ve been doing for awhile that I’ve kind of internalized and then another quarter that I’m working on or trying to find a new wrinkle on,” he said.
Saturday’s stop in Shippensburg is one of about 200 stand up dates McCarthy might do in 2018.
“Most of my bread and butter these days is private, corporate type shows. I used to do more (stand up). I’ve probably gotten a little bit lazy. There’s no pattern to it,” he said.
Still, he is excited about the gig.
“I’m happy to be headed there. You got good, hearty people there in Pennsylvania, and Maryland, too,” McCarthy said.