The end of the year always tends to get extra busy for Tony V in Boston, as he’s in demand to preside over the annual holiday comedy parties at both the Comedy Studio and Comedy Connection, usually also gets asked to perform for the city’s New Year’s Eve celebration, plus his regular club work. "People forget that this is when we work," he told me. "They’ll go, ‘Can you come to party on Saturday night?’ No!"
Tony V said he helped start Boston’s First Night comedy shows, which over the years moved from Suffolk University to the State House ("that room is not actually conducive to comedy") to the Wang Center to the Hynes Convention Center. "You’re basically in a plane hangar," he said. "The room we’re in is about as big as basically downtown Concord, New Hampshire. On one side of us there’s a band, on the other side there’s an ethnic thing. Everything is going on at the same time. I’d like to think it’s me, but it is First Night and I’m not a mime. Not cast aspersions, but at least we’re talking to them."
He did refer to then-Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey onstage by a four-letter word that remains one of comedy’s few taboos. But he said comedian parties allowed for exceptions to the rule. "That night is intended for us to do everything we couldn’t say, which makes it all the worse. It’s like the Walsh Brothers up there, in the most ridiculous sweaters I’ve ever seen, blowing their dead grandmother’s ashes into the audience. Where else could you possibly see that?" The holiday skits went over much better with the packed Comedy Studio crowd than with the meager group who showed up the following night at the Connection. "We had something for everybody and they still didn’t get it," he said. "All I can do is chide them for that and make them feel bad."
Tony V also makes time for the comedy scene’s Ding Ho reunions. "Those are guys I only see once a year, if I see them at all..All of us sitting around telling road stories as if they happened yesterday," he said. But unlike many of them, he still tests his mettle with the young college crowds. "I think anyone who doesn’t do that is an idiot," he said. "You prove yourself every night. You don’t just close your office door and coast. When I get a room of 20-somethings to laught about something that doesn’t involve their genitals, I feel good. It makes you a better comic and a better person."