Last year, stand-up comedian and master storyteller Tom Shillue won an ECNY Award for “Best One Person Show” for Supernormal, ”an evening of stories so normal, they’re radical.” Now he returns with a new rewritten version – featuring stories of his youth in suburban Massachusetts, his life in New York City, a high school reunion, and more – running for three weeks beginning tonight, March 16 at PS 122 in the East Village in NYC.
“I suspect people sometimes cringe at the idea of a solo show,” Shillue says. “I guarantee there’s no weeping, there’s no huge life revelations, there’s none of me kneeling down on the stage and coming to terms with my humanity. It’s mostly a funny show. It’s not a learning experience or a teaching experience. I don’t come out of any closets or go back into any closets. But it’s still a good time. So I guess that’s my weird ad for the show.”
Shillue is a fixture in both the NYC comedy and storytelling scenes; he hosts The Moth live storytelling series in NYC and on tour, is involved in radio and online storytelling projects such as the new site Broadcastr.com, and performs regularly at the city’s comedy clubs and alternative rooms. He has been featured on Comedy Central and Late Night with Conan O’Brien, and he is also a former correspondent for The Daily Show with Jon Stewart. Earlier this week, Shillue was named “Best Storyteller” at the 7th annual ECNY Awards.
Back Stage once called Shillue the Top New York Comic. Read my candid Q&A to learn how Shillue embraces his normalcy and seeks to define a new genre of comedy, why you almost saw him on Last Comic Standing last summer, and more:
So what is normal? What makes you “supernormal”?
Tom Shillue: In the old days, growing up in Norwood, Massachusetts, I thought I was a radical. When I was in high school, and when I was deciding that I was going to move my life to New York, I kind of thought of myself as an iconoclast. I used to look at New Yorkers and I’d think, “Wow, they must be so narcissistic.” And then I moved to New York and I realized that the real narcissists are people like us, who move from the suburbs to New York. The only reason we moved to New York is because we thought we were the coolest person in our town.
So that was the idea, that I moved to New York because I thought I was different, radical, iconoclastic, special. And then after being in New York a while, everyone in New York treats me like I’m out of a Norman Rockwell painting. So I call that “supernormal,” because I thought I was radical, and now that I’ve kind of settled into myself in New York, I’m not. I’m totally normal. So I like to call it supernormal. That’s my Zen state that I’ve reached. I don’t want to be different anymore. I don’t want to be special. I’m not rocking anybody’s world. I’m still the guy from Massachusetts, you know? Read the rest of this entry »