Every year, loud peals of laughter come from the Collins Center for the Arts. The reason for the laughter, smiles and inevitable stomach aches from laughing so hard? Bob Marley is in the house.
Comedian Bob Marley, a Mainer himself, has a New England sense of humor.
“I was born in Bangor in 1967. So now I’m 48. Holy guacamole I’m getting old,” Marley said in an email.
Marley’s parents, Bob and Marcia Marley, or as he lovingly has dubbed them “Robbit and Maaaaaasha” raised him in Maine, where he has lived his whole life.
“We lived in the Bangor Gardens behind Broadway in Bangor until I was in fifth grade and then we moved to Waterville, Maine and finally ended up in Portland for my high school years,” Marley said.
He liked each place for different reasons, but was glad when the family finally settled in Portland because of all the different things to do down there.
He went to the University of Maine at Farmington and started doing comedy professionally there in 1991, which was his junior year of college. His first show was at a health fair.
“They were focusing on stress relief through laughter. I was nervous until I got up there and then it felt awesome,” Marley said.
He estimates that over his entire career, he has done somewhere between 8,000 to 10,000 shows.
“When I lived in Los Angeles, I would do eight or ten shows a week. Sometimes in Boston, I would do 60 sets a month,” Marley said.
Although he loves doing shows in Maine, some of his favorite places to do his comedy shows are Washington D.C., Arizona, Las Vegas, New York, Colorado, Ohio and Canada. He has been to every state in the United States. He has also traveled to 15 to 20 different countries, with a few of his favorites being Kuwait, Iraq, Switzerland, Beijing, Shanghai, Bermuda, St. Thomas and Mexico.
“New England is the most fun for me because I grew up here and everybody feels like family,” Marley said.
The University of Maine is another one of his personal favorites as well. He comes up most falls and loves the energy of the crowd.
“The crowds are great and the students are awesome. I always look forward to it,” Marley said.
Marley has always loved making people laugh. That’s one of the best parts about being a comedian to him. He loves to craft his own jokes. And yes, all of his material are true stories that have happened to him or taken from current events.
“Of course you are embellishing a bit from time to time to make it work on stage, but the root of all my material is based in truth. Sometimes it can be a little more sad than what ends up on stage and that’s why you have to spice it up with laughs,” Marley said. “You can either laugh about it or cry about it and I prefer to laugh about it.”
Marley is never short of material for new jokes.
“I always tell people as long as I have problems, I have jokes, and I have a lot of problems,” Marley said.
Although he could not imagine doing anything else with his life, there are certain things about his job that he doesn’t love as much as the actual shows. He truly hates sitting on planes and waiting around for shows to start.
“I feel like I’m wasting my life when I’m doing that,” Marley said referring to his impatience. “It’s boring and toxic.”
Marley’s love for Maine is never-ending. He loves doing his shows here just as much as he loves the nature of Maine and how peaceful it is. His family loves to ski, on water or snow.
“Usually, we waterski until mid-November and then we have about a three-day break and we go right to the snow,” Marley said.
Professionally, Marley is proud of all of his television appearances, which tally around 100 total. He has been seen on prominent T.V. shows such as “Late Night” with Jimmy Fallon, the “Tonight Show,” “Conan,” and quite a few more. Marley is also proud of his 27 recorded CDs and his part in the movie Boondock Saints.
But this native Mainer remains grounded. When working on new jokes or doing a show, he keeps busy with his family and all of their different activities. His wife and kids are his first greatest accomplishment and greatest priority.
“My wife and kids always come first,” Marley said.
Bob Marley will be at the University of Maine in the Collins Center for the Arts on Oct. 23 at 8 p.m. Come prepared for a wicked good show full of laughs.