Mary Mack

The rising comic on taking folk humor to the Fringe

Q: You’re the sweet girl from the icehouse next door. But your first foray into the Minnesota Fringe Festival is called Sh-t Makes Flowers Grow?
Mary Mack: It’s not blue. It’s about getting angry with your family, and making something positive out of that.

Very Minnesotan.
MM: I’m calling it an anti-one woman show. The one-person show is so formulaic: an epiphany right at that perfect golden-ratio moment in the narrative. My show is all storytelling: family, stress, anxiety. But instead of having a catharsis, I tell the audience, “No one in this story has changed and everyone is still a piece of crap.” Then we have mandolin sing-alongs about wanting to be a plus-size model.

Your quirkiness makes you hard to categorize.
MM: Said Comedy Central. Said NBC. Said CBS. Said David Letterman. Said Craig Ferguson.

They won’t put you on?
MM: They say the audience won’t get me. They don’t trust their audiences, which is a shame.

The Fringe is all about quirk.
MM: That will free me up. I can tell stories instead of jokes. I can build toward meaning instead of a punch line. People will remember a story 20 years later. But they forget a joke the next day.

You call yourself a folk humorist. Does that put you in competition with Garrison Keillor?
MM: I love A Prairie Home Companion. But sometimes I have to throw away a story because a similar story will come up on that show. It’s just a common way of thinking when you come from a small town. Which totally stinks, because sometimes my way of telling the story is funnier.   

How does a nice woman like you deal with anger?
MM: I go to a lady.

Sh-t Makes Flowers Grow opens August 2 at HUGE Improv Theater.

Can’t make it to Mary’s show? That’s okay: see her in action here.