When I first started going to comedy clubs and getting on stage, Ted Pettingell was one of the first people I met. We’ve been friends ever since and although that may suggest that I would be biased in my opinion of his comedy it’s actually quite the opposite. My bias to his style of comedy is most likely what has kept us close for so many years. Ted is angry a lot, he avoids eye contact most of the time and has a dark sense of humor. Those are just three of my favorite things about him. Once at a bachelor party when everyone was making short toasts Ted quipped “To Shawn’s FIRST marriage.” It was very funny if you understand foreshadowing. His taste in music is unquestioned, his cooking is unmatched, yet the most striking thing about this young comic is his ability to destroy an audience. He’s a prolific writer with an edge and he’s not afraid to take chances. That is what makes Ted Pettingell My Favorite Comic of the Week.
UC: Your mother was a waitress at a well known comedy club in Boston. Did that influence you in a way that pushed you towards comedy?
Ted: Yes. The first time I saw a live comedy show I was probably 8 or 9 years old. I was really blown away by it. I remember not really getting many of the jokes but laughing anyway. Laughing really hard and all the adults around laughing as well. The next day I told my friends some of the jokes I remembered. I don’t think they got them either but they laughed. After that I was hooked. When my mom could I would make her take me to work so I could see comedy. It was also around that time we got comedy central and I would watch a lot of stand up on there. I think it was around then I would see comics on tv and take their jokes and try and write my 9 year old versions of them.
UC: You are known as an edgy comedian, and you walk that line beautifully. Is that a conscious decision or just a product of your values and personality?
Ted: Maybe a little of both. I never really thought about it except that I wanted to do the kind of comedy that I liked. That’s how it was for a long time. In the last year or so I’ve really started to think about what makes people uncomfortable about certain subjects because I find it fascinating that people can be so offended by jokes. It seems so irrational to me so sometimes I will break down why someone says they are offended and apply that reasoning to jokes I’m writing or are already in my act and I might find some new angle I hadn’t thought of and if its funny I’ll try it out. I think its a good way to make my act better but also make people think about their own views on what I’m talking about with out coming off like a preachy douche.
UC: Why are you so angry?
Ted: I don’t know. Isn’t everybody angry.
UC: When was the first time that you were on stage?
Ted: The first two times I did stand up was at my High School my senior year for a comedy contest. I won both times. The first open mic I ever did was a year later. It was at the Emerald Isle in Dorchester. I had never been to an open mic before and had never really seen anyone bomb. Everyone bombed. I having won two high school comedy contests thought I had comedy figured out. I bombed the hardest. It was the worst, but the next day I told everyone about it and I knew I had to do it again.
UC: You have been doing comedy for years now and stock piled loads of material. Why haven’t you recorded an album yet? Or can we look forward to seeing one soon?
Ted: A few reasons. First I haven’t done an hour enough to be confident enough in recording an hour long performance. Second I’m never really satisfied with my material. Even the stuff that does really well all the time I will still try and add more to. I don’t know if a joke is ever done and I would hate to ruin a bit by recording it too soon.
UC: You love to cook, what is your favorite meal to cook?
Ted: My favorite thing to cook for my self is a nice steak. It is simple and delicious. My favorite thing to cook for other is BBQ pulled pork. Its a great party food and everyone seems to love it.
UC: Who makes you laugh the most?
Ted: I don’t know. I remember when I first started doing comedy seeing the Walsh bros. I think that might be the hardest I have ever laughed at a comedy show. But I don’t really know who makes me laugh the Most. Maybe John Paul Rivera, off stage though… I don’t watch anybody’s act any more.
UC: Who should be the next comedian featured in this blog?
Ted: Dave Chappelle would be a real get. Have you emailed him. Maybe Rich Karski. I want to know what makes that guy tick. Or Thom Crowley hes got a lot of darkness he doesn’t show people. Or John Paul.
UC: You seem like you are for equality and gay rights in your act but you also say “fag”. What’s that all about?
Ted: Seems like is the key part. That is just to get over on everyone. I’m a huge homophobe.
Just kidding. The only joke I say fag in is a true story about a guy yelling “I Fucked your girlfriend faggot” at me. The joke was originally me just breaking down the guy and what a horrible thing that was to say. After I had been doing it for a while some people pointed out that it might be offensive to people. That was the first time I really did that thing I talked about above of breaking down why people would be offended, especially if they were missing the point of the joke. The joke has probably tripled in size because of that.
UC: What is the most challenging part of being a comedian?
Ted: Not killing yourself.
UC: Most comedians learn from more experienced comedians. Who do you listen to and learn from?
Ted: Lamont Price and Tom Dustin have always been good mentors to me. Oh and Sean Sullivan once yelled at me in the middle of a busy street about how I needed to be less of a dick on the internet. It was the best advice I ever got.
UC: Can you send us a one minute clip of your stand up to share with our readers/viewers?