Lenny Clarke Wants To Make You Laugh This Weekend

If laughter really is the best medicine, you can get a double dose this weekend as Lenny Clarke headlines the Stand Up for Vets comedy show at Plymouth Memorial Hall Friday night and the Boston Comedy Blowout II at the .Boch Center Shubert Theatre Saturday night.

Lenny ClarkePhoto Credit: Lenny Clarke

This year’s talent in Boston Saturday night includes five of the area’s most popular and recognizable stand-up comedians: Lenny Clarke, Steve Sweeney, Mike Donovan, Kelly MacFarland and Corey Rodrigues, who have all toured and entertained nationally and internationally.

You’re seen his face in some of the funniest movies over the years and most recently “Stronger” with Jake Gyllenhaal, the Boston based movie about marathon bombing survivor, Jeff Bauman. We caught up recently with Cambridge native and comedy legend Lenny Clarke to find out why he loves performing in Boston and the secret to his success.

Can you tell us what we can expect at the Shubert show on Saturday?

Working at the Shubert is so amazing because it’s Boston’s version of Broadway. To work for a Boston theater crowd, I always try to pick it up a notch because I feel really honored to working in comedy. People take the time and money to come into Boston, pay to park their car and see me. Every single one of the comedians in this lineup is someone I would pay to go see. I always tell anyone who will listen to me that I wouldn’t be where I am today without Mike Donovan. He was amazing 35 years ago and has gotten even more incredible over the years.

You have been doing comedy for decades starting out in the 80s with now big names like Denis Leary and Steven Wright. How would you say comedy evolved over the years? 

Comedy really exploded in the 90s, but I think today’s politically correct culture has hurt the comedy business.  It has put a damper on comedy. You really have to think about everything you say. I have had the pleasure and fortune of working with some of the funniest people in the world and we used to be able to say what we felt, but now we have had to take it down a little because of the politically correct culture today.

You have worked with some of the biggest names in Hollywood like Jim Carrey in “Me, Myself and Irene” and Ben Stiller in “There’s Something About Mary.” Which project are you most proud of?

I am most proud of the TV show “Lenny” that ran on CBS. It was a network TV show and one of the highest rated shows then the Gulf War broke out and unfortunately the show got canceled.

Any thoughts on the secret to your success and longevity?

I still don’t feel like a success. I feel very blessed and honored to do it as a profession. It all actually started as a joke. When I have an inground pool with underwater speakers, that’s when I will know I have been successful (he jokes).

What do you love most about performing in Boston?

I love how the people feel like they know me. They come up to me and I’m a lunatic. I love identifying with people. When you see a performer and go up to them and they are rude, that sucks. To me, the fans are friends I haven’t met yet. Anyone who takes a chance to get to know me is going to say he’s just nuts. Boston audiences demand your best. They’ll tell you if you suck. They’re very honest.

Mayor Marty Walsh last night won a second term as Boston mayor and you once ran for mayor of Cambridge. Any thoughts on a future career change into politics?

All I can say about that is thank God I didn’t win. I am a registered independent. (Governor) Charlie Baker has a beautiful wife and kids and really cares about Massachusetts and its people. Politics to me now is crazy. I don’t want any part of it.