When stand-up comedian Matt Kona jumps up on stage, the first things you notice are his shaggy hair, his tattoos, and his Ryan Dunn beard. The next thing you’ll notice is how hard you’re laughing as he explains his vegan diet and how it's affected his relationship with his traditional, meat-loving father. But what you may not realize at all is that Kona is one of the leaders of the next great generation of Boston comedians, following in the very-hard-to-fill footsteps of legends like Lenny Clarke, Denis Leary, and Louis C.K.
Born in Rowley, Mass., a small town on the North Shore, Kona is now a resident of South Boston, putting him right in the heart of the city's comedy scene. Before he was a comedian, Kona travelled around the U.S. as a roadie for a British punk band, which helped him realize a career in comedy was in his future.
"When I first started doing standup, I kind of caught the bug. I realized there were a lot of open mics and that I could do it every night," Kona said. "That just made me want to do it more and more." Since his first show at The Middle East in Cambridge a little over two years ago, Kona has performed over 700 shows. In 2010 alone, he performed 454 times. I’ll let you do the math on that one.
Over the course of those 700 or so performances, Kona has grown a lot as a comedian. “When you’re starting out, it’s easy to be dirty and to go for shock value,” he said. "After getting up there so many times, you kind of learn how a joke develops, and you see that you can do a lot more than just trying to shock the audience."
These days, Kona’s act covers a variety of topics, from personal issues, like his relationship with his father and why he doesn’t drive drunk, to his theories on The Wizard of Oz and the fate of the first girl he ever saw naked. He presents his comedy with an energy and enthusiasm lacking with many young comedians. Kona really gives the audience the impression that he’s put his heart into every joke he tells and that if he could, he would stay up on stage all night.
Kona still tries to get out and perform seven nights a week, and his comedy schedule is more packed than ever. In addition to his regular performances, he hosts a Tuesday night open mic at Roggies Brew and Grille and Comics Coming Up, a weekly podcast highlighting up-and-coming Boston comedians.
Photo by Matt Kona
By Kenny Soto -- I'm a professional blogger and entertainer. In my spare time, I enjoy Boston sports and exploring all of the adventures that my hometown has to offer. You can connect with me on Twitter @TheRealKennySo.
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