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Stating the State Of The Art Arts: An Interview with Tooky Kavanagh

By Neil Horsky for Boston Compass (#125)

July 16, 2020

“I’m a stand-up comedian. I’m a Black woman but I grew up and was educated in predominantly white spaces so I never felt like I had a voice among my peers. Comedy was a way to finally be seen and heard, and humor is often an effective way to get people to listen.”

“I...find humor within the intersection of the questions, ‘what’s happening now?’ and...‘what has happened in my life to shape my opinion on current events?’”

“Pretty much every comic I know has a day job. You don’t have to be unambitious, but you have to be realistic, especially in a place like Boston that doesn’t value art as much as it should. I blame the Puritans for establishing that mindset here.”

“The biggest money carpooling. Comics carpool to gigs all the time....Make friends in your industry, chip in for gas money, and be a good hang, because road trips with fellow comedians are pretty fun.”

“Stand-up is essentially a solo process, but every now and then you need a nudge from someone else to get an idea going or to refine existing material.”

“I face a lot of the same uphill battles as my white, female being the only woman in a lineup and having to take on the burden of speaking for all women to prove to audiences that women are funny....It really helps that in this day and age, more and more women are taking charge, producing and booking their own shows, and actively aiming to elevate other women.”

-- Neil Horsky

Check out all the art and columns of July's Boston Compass at


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