Comedienne walks a fine line

By John Benson

Mel Fine is excited about her Youngstown debut.

After appearing at the New York Underground Comedy Festival last fall and touring the country — while taking care of her kids — funny lady Mel Fine feels her career is about to take off.

“Hopefully I’m doing something right,” laughed Fine, calling from Indianapolis.

“In my act you’ll hear I have a couple of kids, but I don’t want them to grow up and write a book about me called ‘Mellie Dearest.’ I’m not on the road all of the time, so I definitely want to make the time I am away from them count.”

Excited about her upcoming Youngstown area debut tonight through Saturday at the Funny Farm Comedy Club, Fine said her material is observational with a little sizzle.

“I talk about everyday life issues, my kids, dating, not dating, things like that,” said Fine, who said she’s in her 30s.

“It’s kind of a little more on the edgier side. I’d rate myself like a soft R. It’s not exactly something you’d want to bring your church group to but it’s certainly not raunchy.

“It’s kind of walking a fine line that is edgy enough to be interesting and funny but not so dirty that people get up and walk out. I’ve never had anybody walk out on me, at least not that I’m aware of.”

As a stay-at-home mom, Fine got her start in stand-up comedy in 2000 when she entered and won an amateur contest.

Within three months she was working professionally with steady gigs. Apparently this was something different from what she was used to while previously working regular jobs.

“I’ve had all sorts of odd jobs off and on,” Fine said. “I’ve been fired from more jobs than I can remember from bosses that don’t have senses of humor. In my act I talk about how I quit a job once due to sexual harassment, which is a very serious issue, because there was nowhere near enough of it going on to keep me around.”

She quipped, “I have needs.”

Fine admits part of her appeal comes from the fact you just don’t see that many comediennes on the comedy club circuit.

“Yeah, female comics don’t seem to grow on trees, so it’s something different,” Fine said.

“So come out and see someone on their way up the ladder. It’s something different. It’s something that you won’t get arrested for, which I guess is probably something good in Youngstown. Just some good clean fun.”

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