By Alex Kantarelis
Worcester’s rising comedy scene has another fresh face for everyone to look check out: local boy Dan Burgess is quickly making a name for himself in the city and beyond.
Burgess, who is only 23, got his start 2 years ago like pretty much any comedian, doing open mics all over Worcester and Boston. Speaking of his first few times, Burgess recalled, “I just spit out my [jokes]. People just stared at me like I didn’t know what I was doing. They were like, ‘This guy is a comic?’” But he kept at it and quickly started getting more attention.
His jokes, which for the most part are clean, appeal to the younger generation. “Anywhere from 18 to 35 is my kind of crowd. You can’t really lie about who you are on stage,” he said. Onstage, he takes on subjects like the hardships of relationships, what jobs are like for young people, and how he enjoys watching fights (who doesn’t, right?). But that’s just scraping the surface. Burgess talks about nearly everything, though he chooses not to dive into the dirty style towards which so many younger comics seem to gravitate.
Lately, he’s been performing 3-4 times a week, both in Worcester and in Boston, sometimes reaching further out around New England, too. He is a fixture at Frank Foley’s Comedy Safari, a venue he really likes. “[The club] has great crowd to work with. You feel like you can really open up to the people onstage with your humor. You don’t feel pressured,” he said.
Being young has its drawbacks, too. “I feel like a lot of people write me off before I even speak into the mic. I thought it was unfair, but when you’re young you don’t have as much credibility,” Burgess realizes. But to him this quasi-prejudice just presents another goal. “You have to work harder to win over the audience.”
But everything else aside, working hard is what Burgess does best. His strong work ethic and goal-driven approach are what keep him going. “Every night I get on stage I reach another goal. If I don’t come away from the stage with a new goal reached, or something new acquired, I failed that night,” he said. But he stays optimistic, even in times of adversity: “Even if I don’t do well on stage, I learn from that.”
For Burgess, the best part about being a comedian is the people that he has met along the way. “Comedy has some of the nicest, most genuine people that you’ll ever meet. I’ve been spoiled with how many people have gone out of their way for me,” he said. He is confident that Worcester will become a hot bed for comedy in the next few years, and he will surely be one of the names leading the pack.