Comedian Tom Shillue took his new one-man show out for a test run on Sunday night at Joe’s Pub in New York City. He called it Supernormal, with a tagline of "stories so normal, they’re radical." And yes, these are very normal, regular, relatable stories for anyone who grew up in a small town, particularly a small town in New England in the 1970s and 1980s. Shillue looks back on his childhood in Norwood, Mass., and weaves tales about his father’s Catholicism, living with his grandmother and his uncle Bobby during college, Thanksgiving dinner, his father-in-law, the blizzard of ’78, boy scout camp and his high school reunion. It was the kind of small town where multiculturalism meant weekly taco night. And Jewish girls. Shillue mines his hometown life for stories as easily and as grandly as if Norwood were his own Lake Wobegon, except it’s all real. Close your eyes and you could imagine listening to Shillue every week on the radio, our generation’s Garrison Keillor, delivering a slice of home. He’s not the most energetic comedian you’ll ever meet, but he remains quite engaging. So much so that 68 minutes of stories flies by.
Shillue says his next step is figuring out where to mount a run of the show. When he does, I’ll be sure to let you know how you can catch him. On a related note, Shillue has built an established base of fans for his stories at Moonwork’s Evenings of Original Works, and the Moonwork comedy season resumes Sept. 27.