The skinny on Dan Boulger

The online record tells you very little about Dan Boulger. We’re about to correct that, although not by much. Boulger remains an elusive comedy creature. This much is known. He is 20 (turns 21 in December) and still lives in Norwood. And on Sept. 16, he emerged victorious in the annual Boston Comedy Festival stand-up contest, and many of his colleagues and competitors alike rejoiced. Why? Just look at the kid.

Forget for a minute that my cameraphone usually offers dark, fuzzy snapshots and focus on the fact that for the biggest gig in his young career, Dan Boulger wore a red hooded sweatshirt. He looked just like he does at any open mike around Boston, or even how he did when he was the Comedy Studio’s comic-in-residence earlier this year. He was unfazed by it all. He just went out there and told his jokes. That’s what made so many other Boston comics happy about his win — that and the fact that he’s a young guy, so awarding him against some veteran stand-ups might signal a changing of the comedy guard, if you enjoy reading too much into things. It did signal a victory for locals over experienced out-of-towners. But let’s get back to Boulger, shall we?
When I spoke with him that night, he said he wasn’t sure what he’d do now that he had $7,000 for winning. "Business cards would be good," he dead-panned. He also said he didn’t have any gigs lined up, save for a weekend in October (Oct. 6-7) at the Comedy Connection — in Portland, Maine. A couple of weeks later, I caught up with Boulger again. Earlier this week, Boulger popped up on the completely inside-comedy WMFO radio show "Gods and Goddesses," where he explained why his e-mail address isn’t quite his actual name. According to Boulger, it resulted quite simply from bad typing. "S is next to D on the typewriter," he said. "Then I had to put a 1 on there because there was already an sbolger (online)." Right.

Boulger started comedy two years ago at 18. "It was kinda a weird thing," he explained to me. "My brother went to college with Patrick Borelli, one of the first Studio guys…then I always watched comedy during high school, started writing comedy my senior year. Then first week of college, I went down to the Vault." His closing bit during the contest, about rhetorical questions, actually came from his high school experiences. "I wrote that in high school," he said. "That was one of the first jokes I wrote."

It’s all about writing jokes, jokes and more jokes. "I’ll write hundreds of jokes and then one of them might be good," he said. "I usually get, I write probably like seven pages of jokes a month. I don’t know how many that comes out to." Do you carry around a pad and pen? "No. I used to carry around a voice recorder, but that looked ridiculous."

Boulger still has plenty of room for growth, obviously. And so he still plugs away at local open mikes. Have things changed for him in terms of gigs, stage time? "I walked into Nick’s and got on. That never happened before. Nor will it ever happen again." What did you talk about? "I talked mostly about animal cruelty." Are you for it or against it? "I’m against it in life, but I’m for it in comedy."

Dan Boulger performs tonight with The Outtakes at the Vault (below Remington’s). Other upcoming gigs: Oct. 6-7 in Portland, Maine; Oct. 10 at Zebro, ImprovBoston; Oct. 17, Suffolk U.; Oct. 18, Comedy Studio; Oct. 20, Brown U.; Oct. 21, Stand-Uprov, ImprovBoston; Oct. 27, Comedy Studio.

Sean L. McCarthy

Editor and publisher since 2007, when he was named New York's Funniest Reporter. Former newspaper reporter at the New York Daily News, Boston Herald and smaller dailies and community papers across America. Loves comedy so much he founded this site.

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