Maria Ciampa
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Maria Ciampa

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF

Boston, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Band Comedy Comedy


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The best kept secret in music


"Catching up with Women In Comedy Festival's Maria Ciampa"

The 2nd Annual Women In Comedy Festival kicks off this Wednesday, March 24 at the ImrpovBoston!

The Boston Comedy Scene Examiner took some time to chat with the fesitval's co-producer, Maria Ciampa, about the return of the unique festival this week.
So, first things first – how’s your stress level today, the day before the 2nd Annual WICF kicks off?
"I would give it a 3 out of 10.
I know journalists like hard data, so you are welcome. It’s low because I work with great people, and everyone in Boston is looking forward to good times. Also I do yoga and eat homemade cookies often."

The inaugural Women in Comedy Festival was truly a treat for comedy lovers in Boston, as it featured some of the brightest and most talented of Boston’s comediennes. This year, you’re stepping it up several notches by featuring acts from all over the country. What changes can audience members expect this year versus last year?


It’s not all women, though. Tell me about some of the featured male performers you’ve got performing this year.
"They are hairier, with deeper voices.*"

Describe some of the workshops that will be available to the public.
"The woman who started Second City Etc, Jane Morris, is doing an improv workshop, so how amazing is that? Also in improv, we have Zabeth Russell, ImprovBoston alum who is now in LA doing a “Simplifying Scenework” workshop, as well as a workshop for teens.

On the business side, Jackie Kashian is offering a workshop on starting and getting Road Work and dealing with Bookers. and Loretta LaRoche is leading a “How to Expand Your "Funny" Business!” session. I can’t wait. I’m all business, as you can tell with my hard data answers.

Cameron Esposito, who started in Boston, and just released her first stand up album that you can go and now buy on iTunes, is leading a workshop called The Feminine Comique, which to me sounds mysterious and important.

Last, Giulia Rozzi, one of my favorite comedians and storytellers and co-creator of Stripped Stories, is doing a What's Your Story? workshop. Storytelling shows are popping up everywhere, and who doesn’t like to tell and hear a great story? I can’t wait for this one. "

When, specifically, are your WICF performances?
"Aw, thanks for asking. I am hosting the Friday, March 26 8 pm at Mottley’s, and I’m hosting the Saturday, March 27 at ImprovBoston"

How did the WICF first become a reality?
"A few good-looking women with a dream, and drive, and lots of great jokes."

What are the top three Must-Not-Miss WICF performances that those who cannot attend the festival in its entirety should catch?
"I love all the WICF performers and this makes me choose. So I’ll choose by putting one hand over my eyes and spinning the WICF schedule globe and where ever my finger lands is what I’ll write down.

Saturday, March 27, 8 pm at Mottley’s Comedy Club
Thursday, March 25, 7:30 pm - Gun Show, OBV, and Rogue Burlesque.
Sunday, March 28, 8 pm at ImprovBoston - Stand up comedy hosted by Mary Dolan

Then, of course, come to the awesome FREE WICF After - Party, where all the celebs will be hanging (like my sister Sarah, my sister Evi, probably Jackie Kashian and Maria Bamford, maybe my husband know, celebrities...) It’s 9 pm - 1 am at the brand new W Boston. Come and say hello and celebrate laughing and such!"

For those of you wondering who will be representing male comedians at the WICF:

*Micah Sherman, who was in a bunch of Subway Commericals and movies and now lives in NY!

*Will Luera, Artisitic Director of ImprovBoston, who now lives in Chelsea!

* Josh Gondelman, who just won Laughing Skull Comedy Festival and now lives in a house somewhere!

The 2nd Annual Women in Comedy Festival runs from Wednesday, March 24 through Saturday, March 28. For full event details and to purchase tickets, visit the Women in Comedy Festival's website. -

"Some reflections on the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival"

Before I say anything about the North Carolina Comedy Arts Festival I should disclaim that Punchline Magazine was a partner in the festival. In fact, I spoke on a panel about stand-up and technology on Saturday. The stand-up portion of the festival is over. But the improv portion runs through Feb. 18 -21.

So yeah, I’m not going to be saying anything too negative about the six shows and 30 comics I watched perform on Friday and Saturday. Also, I should say that despite me catching 30 comics and six shows last weekend, I missed three other shows (on Thursday and Sunday). So this is by no means an exhaustive, complete review of the festival. Though the fest’s history started in 2001, this was the first year stand-up comedy was part of the formerly all-improv event. Like other smaller comedy fests across the country, the goal here was clearly to give exposure to up and coming comedians. It’s a simple mission– one that Punchline Magazine stands behind.

It was a tight knit fest; I met and saw a lot of comedians that I’ve either never heard of or had heard of but had never seen. So it was a treat to see and interact with hard working comics from all over and hear their stories.

For example, I talked to Utah comedian Spencer King on a car ride one night. I learned some things. I learned that because of the predominately Mormon population, you pretty much have to work totally clean in that state ‘else those peeps will walk out on you. What’s more, there’s certain topics — regardless of swearing — that you shouldn’t touch. I guess I always assumed this would be the case. But also, I never really thought of what Mormons thought of stand-up comedy. Turns out they like it; they’re just not much into baby raping jokes.

So, you might be asking, “Fine, but was the comedy any good?” And the answer is “yes.” Did I see some acts that were the opposite of very good? Yes! But let’s focus on the positive. Four comics especially stood out to me: They are Aparna Nancherla, Joe Zimmerman, Maria Ciampa and Jeff Havens. Each one of these comics had a very strong presence, a unique point of view and excellent writing skills. In short, I wouldn’t be surprised to see these four, in the next few years, ascend to the surface of the underground. - Punchline Magazine, Dylan Gadino

"Maria Ciampa on the Women In Comedy Festival"

he Women In Comedy Festival 2010 kicks off Wednesday at ImprovBoston, bigger an better than last year's first edition. Directors Maria Ciampa, Michele Barbera, and Elyse Schuerman have assembled a packed schedule full of local and national talent in every comedic genre -- stand-up, sketch, video, improv, and storytelling -- playing March 24-28.

Maria Bamford and Jackie Kashian are headlining with a show Saturday (Bamford will also host the free afternoon open mic on Saturday). The All Girl Revue, with Edie McClurg (remember the secretary from Ferris Bueller?) and Jane Morris (founder of SEcond City's ETC stage), plays the Festival Friday and Saturday. Bonnie McFarlane is on the storytelling show Saturday with Sara Benincasa and Robin Gelfenbien.

And that's before you count locally-bred talent like Giulia Rozzi, Kelly MacFarland, Jessica Sutich, Jenny Z (as Liz Fang), Somebody's In the Doghouse, Naughy Nanas (an over-50 improv troupe), Michele and Micah, and Josh Gondelman (the Festival's lone male stand-up). For a full schedule, click here.

I caught up with Ciampa last week at ImprovBoston to talk about the WIC Festival 2010. Here it is, with a minor edit.

(Go to Nick's blog to see video interview) - Nick Zaino III Boston Comedy: Funny Grown Here


Still working on that hot first release.



Maria performs stand up in Boston, mostly. She also performs in New York sometimes, at comedy festivals all over, and recently at a lovely college in California, Pennsylvania, which she was delighted to learn existed.

She also auditions for tons of stuff, and sometimes she wins a commercial job like a Bertucci's commercial in which her torso and voice are big stars, or a Maine Lottery one, in which she gets pelted in the face with potato chips.

Maria recently hosted a segment on Chronicle, in which a magician magically made two balls just appear from thin air in her left hand. It really was a moment to remember. Two balls!

As co-director and creator of the Women in Comedy Festival, Maria has performed with some of her favorite comedians, like Morgan Murpshy and Maria Bamford, a coincidental name twin.

Twice nominated Best Stand up Comedian by Boston Phoenix, Maria was Comic in Residence at the Comedy Studio, and a semi-finalist in the Magner's Comedy Festival and the Plymouth Rock Comedy Festival. Maria is an alumna of Improv Asylum's Mainstage, where she wrote sketch and performed improv and sketch, did corporate shows and training, and taught comedy.

Right now she leads stand up workshops sometimes at ImprovBoston, where she also co-hosts her favorite weekly stand up show in the universe, Stand up Sundays, every Sunday at 9 pm.