If there's one constant in Boston comedy, it's the idea that any comic can make fun of Maine with impunity. Bob Marley, a Maine native, knows this. When he plays the Comedy Connection tonight and tomorrow, he'll have plenty of material about regional dialects and growing up in moose country. It's part of who he is, but Marley is careful not to let it become the hook by which he's judged and remembered.
''I don't really ham it up like a Maine humorist, but it's definitely in my arsenal, which I'm lucky to have," he says.
Marley nearly succumbed to typecasting when he first moved to LA nearly 10 years ago to start chasing the elusive sitcom deal. The comic found himself with a variety of offers, many casting him as a Maine country bumpkin.
''I had a deal with NBC," he says, ''and I was like, [with a thick Maine accent] 'Hey, what's the deal with all these highways out here? Jeepers creepers.' "
Seven TV development deals have come and gone for Marley without a single pilot shot. But it would be hard to call Marley, 37, a failure. Between the TV money and his tour schedule, which now includes small theaters, Marley can keep homes in LA and Maine and pick and choose what TV work he wants to do. That spares him from becoming ''the guy from Maine" on a second-rate sitcom.
''I think these comedians get so wrapped up in deals and shows," he says. ''I just like getting out there and doing stand-up, and I think they kind of guilt you into feeling differently about that."
Marley has taped several hours of routines for VH1 that pops up on shows such as ''Super Secret Movie Rules," and his bits have been animated on Comedy Central's ''Shorties Watchin' Shorties." He'd like to do more film work, like his supporting part in the cult hit/box office failure ''Boondock Saints," but he's careful to stick to his strength: comedy.
Marley plans his sets in three categories: current events, family, and, of course, Maine. The formula has helped sell the nine CDs and two DVDs he's produced the past eight years and earned him a loyal audience following.
''Right now, all I have to do is mention my dad or my brother or my wife and people in the audience go, 'Oh!,' " he says. ''They already know. It's like a sitcom. They already know the characters."
Hefty runner-up prize Kelly MacFarland and her fellow-ousted contestants got a surprise on Tuesday's season finale of ''The Biggest Loser," NBC's weight-loss reality show. They thought the show was over for them, but no reality show is complete without a final twist. This one comes in the form of a final weigh-in, to be aired Tuesday, which will award $100,000 to one of the runner-ups who lost the most weight. (The winner received $250,000.)
''Needless to say, the wrap party for tonight was canceled," MacFarland said by phone after the live finale, in which Ryan Benson beat out Gary Deckman and Kelly Minner by 122 pounds. ''There's no big pasta dinner. Maybe lemon water, some sort of protein. Maybe an egg white for dinner."
MacFarland will be back in Boston on Sunday for the ''Women in Comedy" show at Jimmy Tingle's Off Broadway. By that time, Tuesday's ''Loser" show will already have been taped, although MacFarland won't be able to talk about it until it airs. ''I'll have to come out onstage on Sunday eating a doughnut," she says, laughing. ''People will be like, 'No! You've come so far, don't do it!' "
Jeni lets loose Richard Jeni's third HBO hour special, ''A Big Steaming Pile of Me," airing tomorrow night at 10, is his angriest and most personal, filled with rants on extremist politics, terrorism, gay marriage, and just a few light touches.
Around townMike McDonald headlines Giggles in Saugus tonight and tomorrow. . . . E.J. Murphy, Steve Calechman, the Walsh Brothers, and Tissa Hami play the Comedy Studio tomorrow.