Comedian Erin Maguire and TEDxAsburyPark founder, Brian Smiga, chat about love, lies, and confessions. Erin will co-host and entertain us at TEDxAsburyPark in Spring 2021 (Date to be announced soon).
Brian Smiga: Hi. This is Brian Smiga, host of TEDxAsburyPark, and we’re here to have a chat with Erin Maguire, one of our TED comics and speakers coming to Red Bank, Two River Theater, on the 2nd of May, 2020. I can’t believe it’s 2020. It’s an all-day TED Talk event, it’s our eighth year, please join us. Tickets at TEDxAsburyPark. Please welcome Erin Maguire.
Erin Maguire: Hello. I’m glad to be here in 2020.
Brian Smiga: Yeah, yeah. So you know, we’re recording this at 8:00 in the morning. I find the idea of a standup comic at 8:00 in the morning kind of an oxymoron. Is this okay with you?
Erin Maguire: Well, I haven’t been to sleep yet, so yeah, I’m good.
Brian Smiga: I hope you had a good night last night.
Erin Maguire: I figure at a certain point, just keep rolling right through and then around 3:00 I’ll take a nice nap.
Brian Smiga: Yeah.
Erin Maguire: It’s called the Thomas Edison sleep cycle.
Brian Smiga: Yeah. Well, are you inventing things up there in West Orange?
Erin Maguire: Yes. Well, that’s… It’s funny, I actually did go on the Thomas Edison tour because he lived right down the street from me. Not in the same era, obviously, because I look good. Yeah. So apparently…
Brian Smiga: I’ve seen your videos. I think you could be a time traveler.
Erin Maguire: Oh, I know. I sound like I’m from the ’40s.
Brian Smiga: Yeah. And I think you pose as a New Jerseyan because … you don’t even know what your exit is.
Erin Maguire: I know. I’m a faker. I’ve been here for about 10 years.
Brian Smiga: Well, you know what, you get that New Jersey underdog attitude and you’ve got it, right? So, you’re one of ours now.
Erin Maguire: I’m halfway there, you guys. 10 more years and I’ll have the accent.
Brian Smiga: Yeah. So this is good. Let’s go back to your roots as a comic. Everybody wants to know how you got started. What was the origin story? What was the insight that said, “I’m going to be a standup comic”?
Erin Maguire: I don’t think that you ever make the decision. I feel like it finds you whether you like it or not. And I come from a world of funny people. I come from Boston. Boston is very blue-collar, earthy, unapologetic, strange. I mean I was raised on Monty Python and Benny Hill, which in this day and age if people knew that, Child Protective Services would come and take me away from my parents. So I was raised on a healthy diet of bizarre British comedy TV, and I think that it just sunk into my forming brain, my psyche, and I just was strange from the get-go. So I think that it’s, it’s not a profession that you’re like, “I think I’ll do this today. I would like to be an accountant.” It happens whether you like it or not. So I was born to entertain.
Brian Smiga: So it was gradual, it was constant. It was the water you were swimming in. Did you start doing it when you were 12? 18? 22?
Erin Maguire: When I was in second grade, I was in a show called Dr. Seuss’s Bread and Butter Battle where I had to wear oversized ski goggles that weighed my face down. And so I was trying to keep them up, and I realized that mugging made a room laugh. And from that point on I was really addicted. And growing up in Boston, the first job I ever had was doing improv and sketch with a troupe, and we would get hired, and we would travel around places and do murder mystery shows. And I was a hit playing Jan Brady in A Very Brady Murder. And that was my very first job ever. So I was entertaining all around the Boston area is an improv and sketch comic, and that’s really where everything started. I’m a Carol Burnett Show addict, and Kids in the Hall, and any sort of sketch, anything.
Brian Smiga: Oh, yeah.
Erin Maguire: Yeah. So I came from that world.
Brian Smiga: I grew up on Carol Burnett. She was such a great improv artist…
Erin Maguire: Oh, the comedy was that good.
Brian Smiga: Yeah. So what brought you to New Jersey? Oh, that’s a good one.
Erin Maguire: New Jersey, right. A man.
Brian Smiga: Love, yeah.
Erin Maguire: Love…it gets in the way.
Brian Smiga: Toxic love, but yeah, love.
Erin Maguire: Oh yeah. This is pretty toxic. I’ve been married for eight years. It’s killing me slowly. It’s like asbestos poisoning. So actually, I’ve been in New York City for years and years and I’m based in New York City. I’m a comic that goes to clubs in New York all the time.
Brian Smiga: Yeah. Now, do you lie? Do you say you’re from New York? Because I do this all the time. I travel around the world. I’m in Australia. If I say I’m from New Jersey, I get jokes. But if I say I’m from New York, I get compliments. I get a date.
Erin Maguire: Absolutely. That one river that divides us is the difference between respect and getting slapped in the face.
Brian Smiga: If they would just change the Path train to being part of the MTA, our property values in New Jersey would go up 20%.
Erin Maguire: We can hardly get a train to run, period.
Brian Smiga: We just need to paint MTA on them, and then Newark will be the new Park Slope.
Erin Maguire: Yeah. I don’t know. Even the MTA is like… The MTA and New Jersey Transit, their tag line should be, “Barely moving people since 1938.”
Brian Smiga: Yeah. So on March 12th, Thursday night at the Two River Theater, we are going to get a sampling of your comedy along with some confessions. We’re going to have confessions from the audience, we’re going to have a TED talk on confessions. We’re going to have two urban artists that confess how their cities, Red Bank and Asbury Park, have changed over the last 25 years. I’m angling for a confession here…
Erin Maguire: [inaudible]
Brian Smiga: All right. I’ll go first. I’ll go first, that’s only fair. So I’m an investor in technology today, and my true love is producing the TEDxAsburyPark conference at Two River Theater because in my 20s I was a teacher, artist, writer, actor, director. And so I gave myself until I was 30 to try that career out, and then I got into software. So how do you keep life and limb together yourself? Do you write? Do you teach? Do you have other jobs?
Erin Maguire: I write, I perform, I act. I’m currently in a show right now, I’m playing God in Act of God at Fulton Theater, which makes sense.
Brian Smiga: Wait a minute.
Erin Maguire: I play God.
Brian Smiga: How do we get to see that?
Erin Maguire: Well, we actually sold out the run. The extension is the only thing that you can get tickets on, which is nice. March 1st through the 8th is the most tickets available right now.
Brian Smiga: Where is it?
Erin Maguire: The Fulton Theater, Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
Brian Smiga: Okay.
Erin Maguire: Amish country. Yeah.
Brian Smiga: Enjoy that run. It’s so great to play God.
Erin Maguire: Tell me about it. I do it every day.
Brian Smiga: And to have a steady part playing God.
Erin Maguire: Yeah, it’s nice. It’s a hodgepodge.
Brian Smiga: Right. You may not give that up, right? You might keep that going, right?
Erin Maguire: No, I’m holding onto this with both hands.
Brian Smiga: Okay.
Erin Maguire: I’m going to ride this pony all the way into the stable.
Brian Smiga: Yeah. All right. Well, Erin, it’s been delightful talking to you and it’s great giving our audience a sample of getting to know you. They have two chances to see you on March 12th, that’s a Thursday night, at the Two River Theater at 5:45, and it includes the play Radio Golf. For $50 you got a TEDxAsburyPark Salon, you get Erin Maguire, you get three other TED Talks and the play.
And then at our all-day Idea Festival, TEDxAsburyPark on Saturday, May 2nd starting at 9:30 in the morning, we have interactive “Latte and Learn”, and three acts of TED Talks, and then a reception that’s going to be catered by Chef David Burke and the Porta Restaurant of Asbury Park and other local artisan craft food and beer makers. And Erin, are you excited about coming to perform for us?
Erin Maguire: Wait, David Burke is catering? Now I’m really excited.
Brian Smiga: Yeah, you’ll get to meet him. He’s a great guy and he just moved into my neighborhood, and he’s returning to Monmouth County and doing a lot of new and interesting things we’re going to hear about.
Erin Maguire: Wow. Look, I was on the fence about showing up for this whole May 2nd TED thing, but now you really sold it with David Burke. So yeah, I’ll be there.
Brian Smiga: All right, great. See you then. We’ll see you and the audience then. Bye for now.