Kristine Dizon: Hello, my name is Kristine Dizon and I'm the CEO and founder of The Modern Artist Project. Today, I'm with one of my favorite comedians, Mary Mack. She is a favorite on radio shows and podcasts around the country including Marc Maron's W T F podcast, The Bob and Tom Show, and The Grand Ole Opry. Mary co-stars as Jessie in the Hulu Cartoon Solar Opposites by the creators of Rick and Morty. She's appeared in Montreal's Just for laughs festival, HBO’s Andy Kaufman Awards, San Francisco Sketch Fest, and the Dry Bar comedy series Max. Television credits include Comedy Central's Live at Gotham, TBS Conan, Adult Swim, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Fox's Golan, The Insatiable, and N B C's Last Comic Standing, Last Call with Carson Daley and the Tonight Show starring Jimmy Fallon.
Thank you, Mary, for joining us today. Thank you.
Mary Mack: I stayed quiet that whole time. I kept my face in my coffee mug so that I wouldn't interrupt you. I was trying to be so respectful. Thank you so much for that nice introduction. Holy cow, we were giggling. I know, this is your show, but I have to tell everybody about this, that we were laughing because I told Kristine she was coming to Minnesota.
And also, I used to do Montreal but I'm traveling a little bit less. I used to do a club in Montreal and, really sweet people there, and now I'm already planning on how we can do some clarinet duets because after I have my summer, I'll be getting in shape because I'll be the world's worst community band. I hope they don't hear this.
But we have just stopped in the middle of a song during a performance before and we can't play anything with more than one sharp or one flat, which makes it hard since all the instruments are in a different case. But, I'll tell you the lady who is mostly against us playing in four sharps, which is insane to me because she plays saxophone and she has, you have to put everything in sharps because the saxophone is pitched in E flat.
And so, you have to play sharps. So, you can just be at C, right? You can just be at bass level. You have to at least play three sharps. Oh God, we got a piece passed out last year that had four sharps in it. And she goes with the band teacher, the band director hands it out and she goes, “You know, this is a summer community”. So, it's like summer, people in the band who haven't played their instruments for 30-plus years, and ... is her name. I don't care if she's in Alaska right now. If she hears this, she can hunt me down. but we passed out this one piece and ... looks at it, she's behind me in the saxophone section and she goes, “For sharps, I don't think so, maybe 40 years ago”. And then we didn't get to play it. Everybody had to hand their music back, and it was so devastating because all the rest of us were excited to play something a little more challenging. And then also the teacher, I used to call her teacher because she's a teacher but she's directing in the band. She passed out, The Lions Sleep.
No. What was it? Oh, Elton John. Can you feel the love tonight? Elton John, a pretty big name in music. She passes it out to everybody and ... behind me goes, “Hm. Never heard of it”, and we're like, “... Have you ever seen the Lion King? Have you ever turned the radio on?”. Guess what? ... sat out on the line.
... sat out because she never heard the song and couldn’t learn it. I was like, we had to bring in six ringers from sixth grade. Ok. Sorry, I have a lot of this is a ridiculous story. It probably has nothing to do with the Modern Artist Project. But I'm way more passionate about my subpar community band experience than my, than my comedy career.
KD: It's not Mary, it's not sad at all. No, I love it when you think about the logic, it's like, why did they put the clarinet in B flat? Why can't it be with that one? And why does the saxophone have to be an E flat?
MM: It's bonkers. It's like what is this? Yeah. What? You're right. Why did they do that? I guess because those were the materials on hand at the time. It's like we have this much of this brass or we have this much of this wood, you know, back for a gal. Well, I guess it'd be early 18 or 18th century, right? Then saxophone, 19th century. So they'd be like, well, we can afford this much wood.
and so that means this. I lost your audio. I lost your audio. Wait, where are you, or maybe? Ok. I don't know if people can hear you or not, but I can't hear you right now. You can't hear me now. You're back. Ok. I did something. so that's just how it went, right?
Like this is what we have access to or this is what the blacksmiths and wood carvers are willing to do. And so it just had to be that pitch. It’s like legit questions, and I think it's something that people, these are not necessarily modern questions, but they're good questions.
KD: No, this is enough. Thank you for being here in regards to making the time to be on my podcast and to talk about your story. I watched a couple of your jokes, especially about teaching music at one point in your career. Do you think you could share with us your journey to becoming a comedian?
MM: Yes. Thanks for asking. I taught band and I have a master's in instrumental conducting and I became a comedian. I taught youth orchestra, like the cutest youth orchestra, the prep orchestra, right? But it can also be the most work because you have a range of students from young prodigies to ninth graders who are like, “I think I wanna learn bass.”
And so you're always arranging music to keep kids interested, to spice up the parts, so I wanted no dropouts. You don't want to lose kids because they're bored, so, anyways, it's just a lot of time to do it. I love the kids but I didn't love the paperwork of it and the parents are mostly great but I didn't enjoy having to grade a child on what I mostly graded kids on, “Can they show up and do they try?”
But it's hard, it's really hard to grade kids and you don't want to hurt anybody's feelings. So I just wasn't built for that. I liked making the noises but not doing the paperwork., I also, at that time, had a polka band at night in Nashville.
So our Polka band at night, I really enjoyed that and I love performing. But, we were very bad because not everybody in the band was familiar with Polka because we were doing this in Nashville, Tennessee, and not offering hardly any money at all to do it. I had to stop for a time, and I had to stop for a time between songs because when you're covering a three or four-hour gig, that's a lot of time to play when half the musicians aren't familiar with the genre. So, I tagged between songs and pretty soon people said they like the talking better than the songs, which is the worst thing you want to hear as a band. All right, so then I just went into talking, which is comedy and I thought it was amazing because I didn't have to carry anything.
I didn't have to get reeds to practice with. I didn't have to help the drummer load out or load in. And it was amazing to me because I'd go in front of the junior high or the beginning band and it's so loud and even just the noodling before you start is, it's like there's so much noise coming at you that is never pleasant. I'm gonna be honest.
KD: No, it's ok. I think it's really great to hear about that journey because a lot of times people say, “Things aren't successful the first time” or “If I don't feel well about this”, we think about those decisions. Those are hard and those are the types of decisions that make it so you change your path and it's really important.
MM: Well, so what got me addicted to comedy was not even the laughter. It was the silence because I'd get up on stage and people would listen to me. And I thought, oh, my gosh, I can't believe they're listening to me. And I just, like, wrote this today and they're still listening to it and everybody's quiet. It wasn't even laughter for the first few times. It was just the fact that they were silent and listening to me, which is what would scare most comedians away from doing comedy…silence.
But for me, it was amazing, the quiet was amazing because I had been your teacher and then you're teaching lessons afterward or doing your own band or orchestra after your teaching day. It’s so much noise for the, for like 12 hours. So when I did comedy, it was almost more addicting to me that nobody laughed the first time because I enjoyed the silence so much.
KD: I think that's great because sometimes when we think about how aware are we of how we respond to things and being able to say,” It’s ok to be quiet”, and to really take that in. So I know with your work, you write jokes that relate to your life and to the things that you’ve done. How have you been able to make those connections with your life experiences to the creation of your stand-up act?
MM: Oh, you know, it just happens. It's kind of my social venting sometimes. It's hard to vent and craft. So I do a lot of open mics so I can just get out the information and not have people pay for that. So then I rewrite it and I rewrite it and I rewrite it and I rewrite it so that I make the connection for my life.
It's just because I have to talk about it. Otherwise, I'll grow a tumor. It’s serious for my health. I have to talk about these things and that's the connection.
KD: No, I think it's beautiful being able to take these moments. I know for a fact that we're both Minnesotans. You have the Wisconsin thing. I don't have the Wisconsin thing. Being from Minnesota to be able to openly express those things, it's true.
KD: We don't, nobody expresses it's unhealthy, it's changing, but it's so unhealthy. My grandma, she was the first generation here from Norway and she never had one feeling. It was like she was never allowed to express herself, she never expressed anything like it.
It was so unhealthy and so Wisconsin being born in Minnesota, and then growing up in Wisconsin, and then coming back to Minnesota, even though we're only separated by a river, it's so different and I would say it would be central Wisconsin and south. They have a full range of emotions but northern Wisconsin and Minnesota have been slowly coming out of their box.
And just one-time last year, I actually suggested to my sister that maybe she and my mom, and I could all go to a group counseling together because they have so much anger. Then my sister said, if I ever see you again, I'm gonna punch you in the face and that's how she took it. I was like, maybe we could get some of these feelings out in a professional setting and that's how she took it.
And one time my sister said, and now this is the Wisconsin side of it even though she graduated, she did most of her elementary, middle school, and high school in Minnesota. But, she has, this other Wisconsin, well, it's also a Minnesotan side too with the drinking. But I was so impressed because over the pandemic she told us she was seeing a therapist early on in the pandemic.
And, then we found out we're like, “Wow, that's really an advancement for my sister, my rural sister.” And I grew up rural too and she doesn't have a lot of range of emotions. Well, we found out that by seeing a therapist, it meant that she was frequenting the same happy hour as a therapist and they would just talk, not just small talk because a therapist would never have actual counseling at the bar.
But, she was seeing a therapist and talking to a therapist and that's how she said it. But she was just drinking at the same place as a therapist on a regular basis. So she's got that counted.
KD: The thing is when we think about our society today, how we express ourselves, whether we express ourselves through laughter, through jokes or through music, through words, one of the things that I found really interesting about your career is the fact that you made the conscious decision to shift. But yeah, it’s not like you forgot those experiences in music. You actually crafted it into the work that you do. So when you think about the transition, this shift, how was it for you to make those decisions in that moment of time?
MM: Oh, I can tell you one thing, I love to write. It's such a puzzle to write a song that is short enough to be funny. And when I first started, I just started playing mandolin because it seems like a small enough string instrument. I'll do mandolin, and oh, bad choice on my part because the strings are so hard.
So you can't pick it up after a year and be like, “Oh, I'm still good.” I don't play well, but I play enough to play chords and sing a song. So that was kind of a better transition from going from always having a music stand and instrument on stage because I play woodwinds. I taught private school, so my side money I would have to gig. So, I'd always have a couple of woodwinds with me and not the physical transition. Going on stage without an instrument is so bizarre because you're trained from a little kid to hold on to this thing, so it’s like, there's no show without this object.
So I transitioned, from clarinet or woodwinds to a mandolin. Every 15 minutes or so on stage, I’d play something while I'm talking. But I was always kind of holding something or next to something. And then I remember it took the longest time to feel comfortable without anything on stage. What really forced me into it was all the airlines and it was after, 9 11 too. You could only travel with so much. The airlines began charging baggage fees, not like they used to when I first started traveling, there wasn't really much for baggage fees. And then, you're not making a lot of money when you're starting out doing these in music or in comedy. So I had to be poor twice so that just forced me into, it. It was like, ok, either I lose like $200 every trip because I'm bringing an instrument, and flying or I just bring myself and talk. And so it was the latter. Right. Just bring myself and talk and that's how I could afford to keep doing it. So, I guess now I could go back to bringing my instruments because I'm far enough along in my career. But I don't remember any of my songs. I would like to write more songs, but first I have to finish about 20 other projects and I don't know it.
I'm doing this variety show now where eventually I will play some clarinet, and instrumental stuff with an accompaniment. But I'm gonna try to get you on the show so we can do a duet totally. You gotta do it.
KD: You gotta do it when I'm in Minnesota.
MM: Yeah, I do some in Minnesota and some in Wisconsin for it. So the variety show we can do whatever we want.
KD: Everything's for a game. Yes. Like opening the candy store to all the kids be like the world belongs to you.
MM: My husband's freaking out because he overbooked the first show. There are so many “Can I plug it? Can I plug it? What you can totally plug it? It's called North Star Comedy Hour and I did it for like, 12 or 13 years without recording anything really? And then this year I'm like, why don't I do that? It’s a clean show and I wanna try to pitch it to a public radio.
It's kind of a type of praying home companion type show. And it is very midwestern, very, very midwestern. We have like a crockpot game show and then we were doing writing sketches about the Musky festival and different fish.
KD No, that's amazing. I look forward to it and I know definitely our listeners will definitely look into that for sure. No worries. So in regards to that shift, one of the things that you mentioned earlier was like, it was difficult to be poor twice.
MM: Oh, yeah.
KD: Oh man, I could definitely feel the pain, especially having lived in different places throughout my life. You always feel like you're starting over again. You're always like having to find new places to work, finding new connections, and being able to really establish your footing. If you were to give advice to young professionals today in regards to the path we take, it’s not easy, as artists, whether we're comedians, whether we're musicians, or actors…what would you say to those people?
MM: Wow, you know, I guess you're always still figuring it out. Right? I feel like life especially for artists is all about what? It's like a balance, right? It's a balance of yes and no. What do you say yes to? What do you say no to, sometimes the best yeses are things where you're not gonna make any money, but the memories and you're so glad you did it and they inspire you to do more things where maybe you will make money.
So I really don't know. OK, keep a diary. I wish I would have kept a diary. I have so many weird…like looking back at things that I did like 15 years ago, I'm like, well, that was weird. Like, in musicians, everybody has these experiences you don't have in a normal job because I guess the gig economy is like 30%. It's like there are so many freelancers and that's what you are.
As you as a musician or a comedian. You're basically a freelancer, you know. So keep a diary. That's my advice. There's no profession. I have no professional advice except you wanna remember what you did and what you went through to be able to talk about it later. This is so strange for advice for professional people.
KD: No. I think this is great advice and I think it's a matter of being able to write down and see. Because when we talk to different people, people give us advice left and right. Like you should do this, maybe you should change your hair or maybe play different clarinet or smile more. People say some ridiculous things or try to provide advice on what could help.
And I think a journal is a really great way in being able to look and read to “OK, maybe when I did this, maybe what I could have done better is this”.
MM: Yeah the diary, and then also write down in there when you got your check because that's a great regret of mine. You start taking enough gigs and you're like, did they pay me, did I deposit that check? Write down if you got paid and if you deposited it, that's my advice. That's my big advice for artists. It sounds so stupid but it'll save you hours. I got a 10 99 this year and I'm like, wait a second, I didn't get any of that.
I don't know where that money is. So I have to spend hours on the phone trying to track down these checks and where did they go? I could be writing material during that time or advertising for my show. But I'm calling Disney Corporate to be like, hi. I have to pay taxes on this money I never got. So, it sounds so stupid but just keep a log of everything. It's just right. It’s so dumb, it's nothing inspiring but it'll save you hours so you can be creative.
KD: And that's the thing, you know, when we think about time, time is so precious when we have to do these things outside of like being creative, outside of writing jokes or making recordings or even taking auditions or even crafting auditions, right?
So that way, we're always looking for the next big break. Yeah. I mean, because you're such a nice person, like, really, what I loved about your jokes was the fact that there wasn't vulgarity in the way that you shaped them, it was like so much in the way that it was very genuine. Whereas there are so many different comics out there that they're putting out all these curse words, vulgarities, I mean, jokes can have vulgarities. I'm not saying that's a bad thing, but what I loved is the fact that yours were so personal, but at the same time, they were able to inspire that laughter and I feel like that path that you took with that is very difficult. What people are saying, when you look at other types of comedy, and that's what that is for me. That's the big reason why I wanted you on the show to talk about your journey. And also for example, throughout your career what have you experienced? Like sometimes people say “Oh, you know, maybe this, may not be the best” or, “Yeah, you would be supported in these types of projects.”
MM: Well, I think if you're a writer, actor, musician, and comedian, you're mostly gonna get notes, right? Like, I guess this leads me to more advice. Don't take it personally any time you get a rejection, it doesn't mean somebody hates you. Don't take notes personally and people will respect you for that. And it's weird to me to see younger comics go on and people are more thoughtful now, I think, but they used to go on and rip apart other comedians on the internet or, talk bad about musicians and it's like, just mind your own business, do your own work. And if you're not doing it for the sake of doing it, as Bob Dylan said, you're not, you, if you're not doing it because you love that thing, then don't do it. Right. So it's really hard to see. Like it used to be actors in L A that would just do comedy to get stage time and you could tell they didn't really love the craft of doing it.
They just wanted to be practicing to be on stage. I was always just wondering why I guess that it serves a purpose for them. But it also seems unfair because they're not really doing it because they love writing and performing comedy. It was always weird to me. But so do it because you love doing it and you'll never be unhappy, and I don't think I answered your question, but it led me to more advice.
KD: No, no. And I think this is definitely great advice too because when we think about a lot of people going through school, you know, like school, school, school, school, right? They teach you the theory, they teach you, OK, this is what you need to know to go into the real world. You question it because it's like, “Oh was this really, what I need or what I need to know?”.
Right. And I feel like it's so important. What is interesting about what you mentioned was the idea of the craft. I watched an interview that you had done, I think it was on PBS, regarding, the idea of how you craft the jokes because sometimes people think, oh you're just hilarious, oh, wow funny. What was really great is that you talked about the process, would it be possible for you to share that with our listeners if you don't mind?
MM: Right. Yeah. So sometimes you're gifted with a joke that just works or a story that works. But what I do is I record every open mic or every show and it's hard. I mean, I'm not young. So you're out, it's hard to be out late at night doing this and you're waiting an hour to get your 3 to 5 minutes on stage. But every time you go on stage it's valuable.
So I record it. I got too much to say on this topic but then I notate it right. I listen back and I write it out and I have to, that means not rewind, but go back, playing it again, go back, play it again. Keep writing. If I know I can still get the same benefit out of it, I will pay a lady once in a while to notate things or to transcribe for me. But, oh, wait, I was gonna lose it. If you started in classical music, everything else seems easy because you're sitting in, you're going to come prepared because it's ingrained in you to come prepared and to put the work in because you're sitting in a room for little room practicing or for overdoing your crap for over four hours a day because you have to. So, you can transition to almost anything.
You have your private practice that you have to do and then you're just always knowing you need to be prepared and then you have your work practice that you have to. It's just like you are built to do anything after you start classical music because you know how important preparation is. So, I was lucky that I had that training and it makes me, it's a good work ethic to have. I have such a bad add I forgot the question. I should be medicated.
KD: No, Mary. Mary. No, you're doing great. The reason why I bring that up is that a lot of the time, we don't see, as outsiders, who are experiencing the comedy, who is experiencing the jokes, we don't see a lot of the bad people, you know?
MM: The craft of it. Yes. Like, sometimes I'll write a whole essay and I'll only get one sentence I'll have, oh, that's a sentence I can use on stage out of this five-page, six-page, seven-page essay. And it's like, oh, well, I got one funny line out of this and then sometimes, it's a matter of private work writing and then on stage puking out this information and seeing what hits, right?
It's like that's your whole social life just going out at night and working this out. But yeah, I'm slowly transitioning to doing less of that. I just have to figure it out how else to make my money, you know?
KD: And I think, when it boils down to it, it's a really resourceful way actually because when you think about going on open mic night, right? I mean, people are there, it's like the microphone, your moment on stage. If you have an opportunity to learn from those experiences, and be really detail oriented too because I can really imagine that when you watch the recordings, you're not only just watching the joke happening, but you're also seeing the response from the audience. So being able to say, ok, what did they respond to and being able to take that moment and being able to say that's good material for the time.
MM: Or you wanna know what else? Sometimes if you're in a certain room and they don't laugh, it's good because you have to know, well… it was about probably 10 years in when I was like, OK, so this room full of comics did not laugh at that. But I think that's a good sign. I'll take this to an actual audience, and I think they'll like it and that's never failed me.
KD: That's good. Well, because I can only imagine it's not even just the physical joke itself, but also the delivery.
MM: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. That's the music part of it, right? It's the music part, the timing of it. So, yeah, it's good. The structure of an entire show with like the golden ratio, like if you're doing like a one-woman show, you still want that, and just like in symphonies, or even in a feud or whatever, that 7/8 way through, it's interesting to structure the long show, the short jokes within it.
And I don't know, our music has been helpful. I'm sorry, I interrupted you. There's so much to think about, I try not to think about any of this. And so when you ask me, I'm like, oh, yeah, it's a lot of work.
KD: No, I mean, but with what you mentioned earlier, if it's like one of those things that you're passionate about, it's definitely worth it at the end.
MM: Yeah, I am passionate about it. It's just a different type of music you're making. So it's interesting because I was in the composition club in music and I had a composition recital and I would arrange and write for our band and then arrange for the kids.
But it's like, I have no excuse not to write words because it's so much faster than writing notes. It's so much faster. So if I can't just write words, I feel so lazy because I'm like, “You used to write notes, think about writing a whole score for a band.”
KD: And that's a lot of work, words are easy, and also two words have an impact, especially, when you're singing, using words or even speaking, or even giving notes and being able to reach out to audiences in a different way.
One of the things that you mentioned earlier is with having to like also market, you have to put out material. I know you have a couple of recordings out if you want to talk about that.
MM: Oh, yeah, I think I have six or seven C DS out. I'm so grateful for Serious X M because they pay royalties on their spins and I wish I could get some people on all my material on there. So I wish I could be like, “Hey, could you play the other C DS?” But yeah, marketing yourself. Well, the C DS, it's like you almost have to record a CD and comedy because that's a nice way of not losing your notebooks, like in audio recording.
I like writing by hand mostly but an audio recording is like a great way to at least archive some of your stuff. And then I'm fortunate that I get some airplay with them. I guess for me it's like now because of royalties on Serious X M which is, it's like Spotify, man, they don't pay anything and Serious X M is at least fair to people that they play. I forgot where I was going with this, but it's fortunate that I just have to record them so I don't lose them and then it becomes available to people who seem to enjoy them. So, I just reprinted five of them that were out of print. I have them on MaryMackcomedy.com and my husband mails them out because I'm too slow. So a lot of people want hard copies and so I went and reprinted them and then I have all these boxes of C DS because I keep forgetting to let people know that I have all my C DS again. So somebody please buy it, buy at least 50 of each CD from me.
KD: I will definitely, I'll definitely be getting physical copies.
MM: Oh, that's so sweet!
KD: When we think about, the digital media age, the difficult part is that sometimes with YouTube or even with just everything is out there for free, that type of thing, and it's just also being able to just have something physical.
MM: Yeah, I feel like it's a tangible thing. Right. You can see what you made. At least you can hold something, like over the pandemic, my husband and I remodeled. We were working on it. We didn't have a lot of gigs, of course. So we were remodeling a place and I would sand and stained wood.
I remember one week for like 12 hours a day and then he would put it up and I'm like, oh my gosh, this is addicting in its own way. And so gratifying because you can see what you built. So, a CD is like the house you built, right? So you can actually hold it and see it. It is so strange and I don't know where any of my digi is, I spent years compiling like purchasing and compiling this audio library on iTunes.
And now I can't even access it. I can't even find my own purchases because it's so they direct you to their streaming service. But I'm like, now I had these things that were just what I picked out and I don't even know how to get to these things. So, now I'm going back to people who love records. Now, I like records that try not to accumulate too much, but I have a lot of C DS that I can go to a show, pick them out and be like here take a look at this. I can hold it in my hands. This is a long answer to a question you didn't even ask, sorry.
KD: No, this is great because when we think about the digital age, being able to have the vastness. For example, for you to be able to build your community on your social media platforms, what did that take you?
MM: Well, I gotta tell you, I put all my videos on my space, and then when my space went down, I just was like, I'm not putting up any more videos, I can't handle this. Everything just changes and you lose effort. I don't even know how to get those videos back because they're not even on a hard drive anywhere. And so I got so mad I just didn't bother Facebook.
And now I realize like, people keep writing me like, hey, how come you aren't putting any more YouTube videos up? I'm like, oh yeah. Right. I will do that but I don't really know what it took. It was out of necessity on social media. I'm not a viral person.
They're like people that are nice people that just happened to follow my stuff and I don't have a ton of them, but they are nice. And when they come out to shows it really means something because they're just like, “We have so many things in common”, and that's why they clicked on my page and followed it or friended me or whatever. I don't view them as like a following.
They're just like, we have a lot in common or we have something in common. Right? Because election year is when you lose some people out of your social media because I'm like, “Oh, darn they unfollowed me.” But wasn't it neat that we had a few things in common and a lot of them stayed on because we do have those things in common and even though we're not voting the same way they stay on and I really respect those people because I know I must have people like that I follow. But we have enough in common that I'm following them. It's just unique, it is unique, isn't it? I don't even know how to explain it. In social media, the small followings I do have, are just out of necessity to let people know about shows or say, look at this flower. I got to show everybody this flower, “Look, guess who shoveled the snow today”, you know?
KD: Yeah. I totally hear you.
And the thing, I think it's also with your relatability, like the fact that the different experience says that..you have my favorite actually, it just hit me with the maple syrup, like a joke that you had, yeah. Being able to relate to people and touch their souls in a different way through, this story tells of things that you have experienced in your life and that they probably, even though it's a digital format, there is still human connection behind it.
MM: Yeah, exactly. And what's crazy is the idea of, being able to understand the necessity because when you put out the N-word marketing, if you were to tell like a writer, people are like, I know. and then you see the snakes come out and like dragon eyes and people like that evil, but at the same time, it's not evil because of the fact that we're here to create community. In regards to being able to bring awareness is how I view it because no one's gonna know about us or you know what someone else does if you don't create that type of community, right?
And even like, I will plug other shows, I will put other shows out online just because people need to know about this. People need to know about this performer or that this performer is gonna be in their town and that is another connection because if I like that performer and somebody else goes and they like that performer, I'm like, “Oh, cool, we're all interested.” It's just that, I don't know, that's also a drive of its own is a common interest, isn't it? Or, or like, it's like there's an old Saturday Night Live sketch that is like this m milk sour taste it. Yeah. And they, everybody go around tasting the milk even though it's sour. But it's the opposite of that.
You're like, I gotta tell people about this. I'm so excited about it. And most of my shows are, even if I'm not making money on it, I'm still advertising it because I think it's gonna be fun. And like, we're going to have all have this experience together. I think it would help people in some way, even if I'm not making money, I still advertise it. Like I'm not gonna make anything off these variety shows. I'm just doing it because I'm so excited about it and I just love seeing a good show and I think I'm bringing in these performers that I want to introduce people to or that I think would be amazing to have in one room together. So I guess that's good to know that I'm still doing everything just because I'm really excited about it, and I want other people to get excited about it too. That's a good thing to know. Thank you for that Kristine.
KD: Oh, no, I mean that's the thing, being also able to realize the people that you can work with and that you feel comfortable with because a lot of time we put ourselves into positions like,”ok, this person's like, really awesome, but they're kind of a jerk, right”.
MM: Yeah. Oh, yeah.
KD: I don't work with those people and the thing is, why put yourself through that type of, stress because it's sometimes really unnecessary. Now, the question that I have for you is, when we look at young people, they're going through the emotions of going through college or not even just young people, but also professionals who are in the midst of the field but are feeling dissatisfied in regards to what they're doing?
MM: Oh, man. Yeah, I mean, you go through all of this training, you go through all of this schooling and then you get to the point of like, what's next, what can we do?
KD: I mean, as artists, I mean, you're a comedian, I'm a musician, but I know that music, it's so hard, especially for musicians. I just remember all the work that I had to do that wasn't music and how depressed I would get. But I think if, you know, you're not alone, like we're all doing that.
KD: Yeah, I'm back.
MM: Yeah. It helps to know you’re…when it might be my earplugs too, but it helps to know you're not the only one going through that. It's all hustle. Life is always a hustle. You're not the only one going through it. The more years you're doing it, like when you're young, you don't realize it does get easier.
So it will get easier. Then you learn your strengths and weaknesses more. So, like from this interview, I learned my strength is my enthusiasm for projects and people and performers and my weakness is my memory.
KD: Oh, no, I'm sure you have a great memory for certain things.
MM: I guess I could never…I never, although I'm interested in politics, I guess maybe I couldn't be a politician because… I forget what the question was and I meander so much. But that's, also a strength because through meandering, I end up getting this material that I use later. But I can't separate my creative meandering from my real life. Meandering is my problem.
KD: You know, meandering is actually, at least for me, one of the best ways to come up with ideas, just like not having like a specific direction of where I need to go or where I'm going, but being able to have the time to think and I think…no, this was really great.
Mary, thank you so much. This is with all of the different things that you've discussed, they have been really useful. I know you have a couple of shows coming up so I don't want our audience to forget. So, could you plug it in for us?
MM: Ok. Well, my variety show is, North Comedy Hour and I will eventually be putting that out on podcast or radio play. So, North Star Comedy Hour, it's all under MaryMackcomedy.com And, my live shows are coming up on June 17th and July 29th for that, and they're all in the woods. But if you love camping, book way ahead, and if you call me in Wisconsin and if you like bears and squirrels…definitely, if you love encountering a porcupine late at night, you might enjoy my comedy.
KD: No, this is great, Mary. Thank you so much for joining us today and thank you for sharing your experience and thoughts with us. We look forward to seeing the amazing things that you continue to do for our community.
MM: Thank you, Kristine. Can I tell you two more pieces of advice?
MM: If you're not drinking for some reason that you can write off, don't put your drinks on a credit card because you will be paying for those drinks for years. Do not put your drinks on a credit card. And that's the thing you can write off, just like Catherine Hepburn.
They asked her what's the best advice for young actresses. And she said to take the fountain because the fountain runs parallel to sunset and at one point in time, you used to be able to get places quicker by taking the fountain in L A. You'd take the fountain, it's quicker. It's the LA back row but no more. It's still just as busy as the other roads.
But you know, these are important things because if you don't get there in time, you're out of that opportunity, right? So practical things are very important in order to provide an atmosphere where you can provide opportunities for you to do your creative thing and succeed.
KD: Definitely think that's actually really great. Thank you, Mary.
MM: OK. Thank you, Kristine.
Kristine Dizon is a multi-faceted performer, teacher, writer, author, linguist, and entrepreneur. She is Founder & CEO of the Music & Language Learning Center, The Modern Artist Project and co-founder of the Gran Canaria International Clarinet Festival and American Single Reed Summit. She is an artist for Uebel Clarinets and Silverstein Works. Learn more at www.kristinedizon.com.