For comedian Mary Tischbein, aka Long Island Mary, the road to stardom laid in the crux of her ‘highly functioning alcoholic family’ and the jokes she tells about her mother, who has since passed away, her sisters and herself. Growing up in Long Island, New York in a Catholic family, she also jokes about her background and the almost shocking changes she’s made along the way that give her more fodder for her jokes.
For example, she married a Protestant man, who was a porn addict, divorced him and left for Florida. Shortly after arriving in Bradenton, she announced that she was a lesbian.
“I drove down in the rain, went through a rainbow, and came out gay,” she jokes of her fairly new sexual orientation.
Mary says she was the class clown. The one that wore a Steve Martin arrow through her head to school. The one that mutters under her breath and makes everyone laugh.
“I call it drive by comedy,” she says. “I’m the girl in the office at the copy machine making everyone laugh,” Mary said. “Often times I say something off the top of my head, it’s funny, and I have to go write it down.”
As Mary matured she started to hang out at comedy clubs and her friends all told her she was funnier than the comedians they went to see. So, she started stand up.
She attended McCurdy’s Comedy Theatre & Humor Institute in Sarasota, FL and took six, two-hour classes that helped launch her career. It was also in Sarasota where she won Florida’s Funniest Comedian…”the audience clapped for 30 seconds…of course it was mostly my people.” She recently was the featured comedian at McCurdy’s, where she performs regularly.
She says comedians are the lowest paid entertainers in the business, so she works full time as a bookkeeper and travels to her gigs on weekends. She’s held a variety of jobs, one being a sign spinner, which is funny in and of itself.
“Some guy yelled at me when I was spinning and I said,” This isn’t soliciting. That’s what your dad did to your mom…”
Mary has appeared on Fox 35 in Orlando as a featured comedian for “News Remixed”; Fox 13 Tampa Bay “The Healing Power of Laughter”; has been on stage in close to a dozen states; has played eight comedy festivals; and regularly appears at McCurdy’s in Sarasota in addition to The World-Famous Improvs in Tampa and Orlando.
As for life in the south – she’s learning to fit in – while standing out in a crowd. She’s actually shy by nature, not uncommon for a comedian, and she’s bright and deeply thoughtful, while on her other side, a clean comic – with a touch of dirt.
She’s started over as a Lesbian, and as for the mix of Catholic and Protestant beginnings, she’s left that behind, too.
“I’m a Buddhist with a side of Alanis Morissette…I believe in God…but no religion for me. The only commandment for me is, ‘don’t be a dick.’”
What does she love most about being a comedian? “I love when I leave a show and people come up to meet me…they tell you how great you were…you can’t beat that feeling.”
You can find Long Island Mary (Mary Tischbein) on Facebook. Friend her and you’ll laugh daily. And be sure to catch her at McCurdy’s next time she’s in town.
photos provided by Mary Tischbein