From First Night To First Jokes

Dana Jay Bein. (Photo courtesy of ImprovBoston)
Dana Jay Bein. (Ben Snitkoff)

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — One of the hazards of being a standup comedy fan is you’re likely to watch your favorite comics perform the same jokes over and over. It typically takes years for a comic to build a set, tweaking and refining each joke hundreds of times. That’s why “100 First Jokes” is such a refreshing show. Producers Matt D and Dana Jay Bein bring together some of Boston’s finest comedians to give a totally new joke a shot.

On January 1, 100 standup comics will converge on Central Square at ImprovBoston to tell their first joke of the new year. This annual event has a party atmosphere, with guest after guest getting up to deliver a one-liner.

“The only criteria is that it can’t be a joke that’s been on any stage before,” says Bein, a comedy veteran who teaches standup at ImprovBoston and was featured on MTV’s "Made." (Full Disclosure: I also teach at ImprovBoston). Bein says that the exciting part of the show is that no one knows how the jokes will play. “The only true litmus test for a comic is how an audience responds. Some jokes evolve and get better as you tell them. Other jokes you tell once and you never perform them again.”

Bein says the show was inspired by a long running New York show called “50 First Jokes,” but “we wanted to see if we could one-up them by doubling the number.” The hundred comics are split into two sets, at 7 and 9 p.m. Comics ranging from the well-known (Kelly MacFarland, Lamont Price) to those starting out, each getting two minutes onstage.

Chris Duffy is the editor of Paperweight Magazine, a new humor magazine for the iPad. He also produces and hosts "You're the Expert," a monthly show at Oberon that uses comedy to make academic research more accessible and exciting.

This program aired on December 27, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.


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