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Comedy notes

Red Peters steps out of shadows with 'Oddville'

Red Peters has two professional personalities: For one he produces music for films and ads; the other is as a comic of often-crude humor. Red Peters has two professional personalities: For one he produces music for films and ads; the other is as a comic of often-crude humor.
Email|Print|Single Page| Text size + By Nick A. Zaino III
Globe Correspondent / June 6, 2008

Forgive Red Peters if he doesn't tell you his real name. Under his real name, he produces music for television, film, and for advertisers who wouldn't want their names associated with the kind of crude, double-entendre-laden music for which Red Peters is famous.

Those corporate gigs allow the 58-year-old Quincy-born musical comedian to record songs like "Ballad of a Dog Named Stains," "Rocket in My Pants," and several other titles that can't be printed in a family paper.

"If they ever knew I was Red Peters, I'd probably get run out of town on a rail," says Peters, who will host tomorrow night's "Oddville" show at the Cutler Majestic Theatre. "I'm used to it now, living two lives, being two people. But it is rather strange."

Most of Peters's fans probably haven't seen him in person. His biggest exposure has come from Howard Stern's radio show, which first picked up one of his songs in 1996. Peters joined Stern on Sirius satellite radio in 2005 with "The Red Peters Comedy Music Hour," which he broadcasts monthly from his home in Milton.

Peters plays some of his own material on the show and also features off-color humorous songs he finds from amateur and professional musicians around the country, whom he often interviews. Despite the graphic, some would say gratuitous, nature of the music, Peters says there are some things he won't play. He doesn't consider violence against women funny - and he says he's gotten plenty of submissions along those lines.

Silly? Stupid? Sophomoric? Fine. Peters will cop to those, and perhaps even some of the worse things critics have said about his music and the music on the show. But he won't purposefully play ugly. "Some of my songs have been more explicit than others," he says. "But it's usually all just for fun and to have a good time. I'm not trying to hurt anyone's feelings."

"Oddville" is a rare opportunity to see Peters live and a bit of a change of pace. While Peters and his cohort Titler, whom Peters says shares his penchant for "musical Tourette's," will provide the risque, "nu-vaudeville" element to the show, most of the acts are what Peters describes as "good, clean fun." They range from a contortionist called "The Human Knot" and the self-explanatory "Yo-Yo People" to seasoned Broadway performers like Raymond and Christine Bokhour and classically trained violinist Angela Shyr.

Peters says the idea was to evoke old-fashioned variety shows with a bit of spice. "Instead of every act being rude or crude or pushing the envelope, you mix it up," he says. "You have something for everybody. When I say everybody, I mean 18-plus."

The show will be somewhat of a send-off for Peters, who's planning to take Oddville on the road and eventually move to Las Vegas by the end of the year. He thinks his style might be a better fit in Vegas than in more conservative Boston. Plus, in Vegas, he can be Red Peters without worrying about running into a client.

"Here, I have to keep it on the sly," he says. "There, I wouldn't have to at all."

Around town
Amy Tee hosts "The L-Word: Laughter" gay and lesbian comedy show at Dick's Beantown Comedy Vault tonight. . . . Local comedy troupe Kitsch In Sync presents "Haha's for Hunger," a benefit for the Greater Boston Food Bank, tonight at the Puppet Showplace Theatre. . . . John Heffron is at the Comedy Connection tonight and tomorrow. . . . The Comedy Studio has a strong lineup tomorrow, including Nate Johnson, Joe Wong, Chance Langton, Tom E. Morello, Josh Gondelman, and Chris Oake. . . . ImprovBoston's live topical show, "Boston News Net," continues its run tomorrow at the troupe's Central Square theater. See clips at bostonnewsnet.com.

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