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MASS MoCA Kicks Off High Mud Comedy Festival

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MASS MoCA's weekend comedy tour is headlined by Phoebe Robinson, of the 2 Dope Queens podcast.

MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts kicks off its High Mud Comedy Festival tonight with local and touring comedians, beer tasting and comical museum tours.  

The festival is headlined by Phoebe Robinson, of the 2 Dope Queens podcast, and hosted by comedian/songwriter Dave Hill.

Jodi Joseph from MASS MoCA says the comedy festival was started last year by a museum trustee, Jay Tarses, who was a comedy writer for The Bob Newhart Show. She says Tarses had the crazy idea to start a comedy festival at the art museum ... and well…

“MASS MoCA loves a good, crazy idea,” Joseph says.

Because, after all, Joseph says it’s a special time for everyone to have a good laugh.

“It’s just getting everybody together for a good time in one of the most doldrumy periods of the year. In the Berkshires we call it Mud Season – it’s the prelude to the spring. It’s gray. This year it’s gray and snowy. We just thought this would be a great time of year to have a big, long laugh.”

It kicks off with comedian/ songwriter Dave Hill taking everyone on a funny beer tasting on campus at Bright Ideas Brewing.

“Dave Hill just makes everything more fun or funny. So we thought it would be great to take drag over to the brewery and have some beers with him. And note that is before he starts hosting the show for the evening so it should add a special punch to the show tonight,” Joseph says.

“My only regret is that it’s before the show tomorrow so I won't be able to really knock them back like as much I'd like to, in fact I usually don't drink before I go on going on stage, but I will make an exception for the beer tasting, but I won't be able taste them a pint at a time or anything.” 

This will be Hill’s second time at High Mud — this time as host — and he’ll try to keep everyone laughing.

“I will be doing a bit of standup but you know I will be, I guess, of the master of ceremonies for both nights, and keep them... I was going to say keep them wildly excited, but I am pretty low-key, so I am not the best at that,” Hill says.

But Hill says anything goes when he takes the visitors around the museum for a tour.

“You know, do they still have the upside down trees? But I don't know, I like the whole art community in woods. And there is always just a stroll through the gift shop, you know, will give me enough fodder, I think, to make fun of them for a couple of nights.”

The weekend comedy festival is stacked with show after show and headlined by Phoebe Robinson, of the 2 Dope Queens podcast. Joseph says the festival is rounded out by local and touring comedians.

“Including Maggie Crane, Ryan Shae, Mike Lebovitz and one of our local favorites Tom Lewis who’s from Lenox, Massachusetts and organizes all of the local comedy for us.”  

Other comedy acts include Jenny Rubin, Julie Kottakis, Dylan Carlino, off-the wall-humor absurdist Erin Markey, and many more.

There is also a comedy workshop on Saturday afternoon with comedian Jordan Carlos called “Comedy in the Time of Trump,” and a screening of episodes from the HBO’s “High Maintenance” handpicked from the show’s creators.

“We like to end the High Mud slipping out into downtown North Adams so at 11 o'clock both tonight and tomorrow we have late night comedy around town at Desperados and Freight Yard Pub, which are two local hotspots here in town,” Joseph says.

The suggested age to enter High Mud is 16. The cost is $12 tonight, starting at 6 p.m., and $32 on Saturday at 3 p.m.

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