Gary Petersen
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Gary Petersen

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"Defend Yourself: Gary Petersen"

The very thought of doing stand-up terrifies me. Do you still get nervous?
The frightening aspect of comedy is really risk versus reward. I’ve done it terrified for enough years, and not terrified for enough years, for it to be worth it for me. If the legend Steven Wright gets nervous, then I guess it’s okay for the rest of us. - The Weekly Dig: Boston


"Student Spotlight : No Easy Gig"

He’s taken his lumps on the local comedy circuit, but now Gary Petersen is making his mark. In comedy shows around New England, as well as at YukY uk’s Laugh-off in Toronto and auditions for the Montreal Comedy Festival and the Great American Comedy Festival, this communications major is building a career for himself telling jokes. Hitting the stage hundreds of times per year, he says is all part of “keeping the show going.”

How Did You Get Started?
I started in high school hosting a variety show and just kind of got addicted to live performance and thought I was amazing. I went to Boston to a place called the Comedy Vault to try to figure it out. I was just going to make it right then and there as soon as I showed up. And I bombed horribly. I did that for two years, just persistent bombing, and I learned how to bomb well and rewrote and just worked harder.

Have You Settled on a Particular Style in Comedy?
I love the truth in comedy. I do love absurdist stuff that doesn’t make any sense. But you look at Carlin, Richard Pryor, Jerry Seinfeld - there’s a rigid logic to every joke...you see these truisms...The real, to me, is what I chase after in my writing and what bits I form. Truth in comedy is kind of interesting. They’re jokes, but they’re based on real things. I always try to chase the honesty and the situation.

Do you aspire to be a career comic?
It’s such a gamble. There are no guarantees in show biz, it’s not about talent or skill ... I’ve seen people who have been around 17 years who haven’t gotten their break. It’s almost like baseball. It’s not the guy who put his time in –it’s the numbers that make sense. It’s like how good you can be right now. It’s up to me to work as hard as I can to get there
- Bridgewater State University


"Bridewater State College produces two rising stars on the Boston comedy scene Read more: Bridewater State College produces two rising stars on the Boston comedy scene"

Local stand-up comics Gary Petersen and Jason Marcus prove there might be something funny in the water at Bridgewater State College.
Petersen and Marcus, who both attended the school, are now considered rising stars in the Boston comedy scene. On any given night, you can see either comedian at a club in the city or just honing their skills at a local open mic.
“Comedy takes a lot of work to make it look easy. Gary and Jason are two of the hardest working comics on the Boston scene,” said Rick Jenkins, owner of The Comedy Studio in Cambridge. “Some real up and coming comics of Boston are coming out of the Brockton-Bridgewater area. The fact that they are still working and developing in the area where they grew up means that you can find a few top quality shows in your neighborhood every week.”
Petersen is currently a senior at the college, while Marcus left his studies one semester short of graduating to pursue his stand-up career. The college provided both of them the chance to hone their talents at the school’s comedy competition and open mic.
“I was in their comedy competition once. I got second place,” said Petersen, a communications and media studies major at who is slated to have his own radio program on 91.5 WBIM next semester. “I use the BSC open mic to try out material and I have done a few student spotlights there.”
Marcus, who also took part in open mic night at the college, says it was there that he figured out what he truly wanted to do in life.
“I studied criminal justice while I was at BSC, thinking maybe I’d take the police exam or become a lawyer someday,” said Marcus. “I had to choose between school and comedy when I got into the Las Vegas Comedy Festival. The festival was a big deal and would take place over a week. My mission in my mind was clear.”
Petersen, who served as the July comic-in-residence at the aforementioned Comedy Studio, says that he likes to try to get onstage a few times each night. The Weymouth native began his comedy career in high school, after writing humorous articles for a class. He hosted his high school’s annual variety show, beginning his foray into stand-up. He has performed with Louis C.K. and Mike Birbiglia, amongst other national acts.
Marcus says he performs between four and nine times a week. Getting into stand-up was an interesting process for Marcus. After a pair of failed attempts onstage, Marcus decided to take stand-up seriously in 2007 by going to open mics in Boston.
“I try writing a couple of hours a day and then taking whatever I’ve written to open mics that night to give it a try,” said Marcus. “Another reason it’s good to do as many shows a night as possible is that I can try the new stuff a bunch of times in a row, adding more to it every show until either I add it into my act or I put it in my misfit joke file.”
Marcus, a 2004 Brockton High graduate, won “Best of the East Coast” at the Detroit International Comedy Festival in March and won the Catch a New Rising Star competition at Twin Rivers Casino in Rhode Island two months later. Recently named a finalist in iJoke.com’s “Funny People” contest, Marcus is en route to Las Vegas to compete for a grand prize at the Improv comedy club. In February, Marcus will leave for a month-long tour of the Midwest, performing in venues from Minnesota to Iowa.
Offstage, both comedians have fostered a relationship with one another as they work their way in the comedy world. When discussing Marcus’s act, Petersen had nothing but high praise for his fellow comedian.
“I’ve known Jason for about three years,” said Petersen. “I think he is a cowboy on a steel horse of comedy. I love and fear him. Jason’s act has just moved forward in development and shows no signs of stopping.
Marcus also had kind words for Petersen, stating that the first time they met was at the Bridgewater State comedy competition.
“Over the years I have gotten to know him pretty well,” said Marcus. “He’s a great guy, a great comic and his bit about the Direct TV commercials is one of my favorite jokes of all time.”
“I have a lot of goals but mainly, I just want to make sure that when I have kids someday that they can eat every night, don’t have to have homemade clothes and I want to be able to do that with comedy,” said Marcus. - Wiked Local


Discography

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Bio

Gary Petersen is without a doubt one of the rising stars of Boston comedy. Performing all over the USA and Canada this young comic has established his reputation as a strong writer and exciting performer. His unique brand of comedy draws in crowds, guiding them through the ridiculousness of life, highlighting the humor in ordinary situations and imagining even funnier ones.