Kelly MacFarland Imparts Healing Gift of Laughter

Amy Mevorach
Issue Date: 
June, 2018
Article Body: 

Kelly MacFarland, headliner of the TCAN’s annual Ladies of Laughter show April 13, entertained a Natick audience alongside comedians Jocelyn Chia and Carolyn Plummer.
MacFarland, who moved to Natick from Watertown in 2015, when she married her husband, grew up in Maine in a family that loved to laugh. “I loved comedy at a young age. My family is very funny and silliness was always encouraged. I started listening to my parents’ comedy albums when I was little (probably too little) and I would sneak down to watch Saturday Night Live after bedtime. I loved how comedians put themselves out there. So raw. Doing anything for the laugh. Being so brave to give someone else the gift of cracking up.”
In 2016, MacFarland won the professional division of the Ladies of Laughter competition in Verona, NY, and began touring with other Ladies of Laughter winners and participants. Her approach to comedy is humanitarian, and she relishes the outreach work she does with ImprovBoston, where she performs and teaches improvisation. “From our award-winning school programs to our residency at Children’s Hospital to the work with do Alzheimer patients, it’s all very satisfying.” She has also toured the world entertaining troops in such places as Bahrain, Greece, Spain, Italy, Alaska and the Marshall Islands.
Besides the SNL comedians, MacFarland was influenced by Carol Burnett, Lucille Ball, Gilda Radner, George Carlin, Joan Rivers, Ellen DeGeneres, Robin Williams, and others. “I’m also an actress and writer, so I look for artists that influence all parts of me.”
MacFarland ensures her success as a comedian by continuing to grow as a comic artist.
“I continue to look for influences all around me. That’s how you keep it fresh.” Her performance style is flexible and adaptive, with sensitivity to the audience even at the periphery of the stage. On the TCAN stage, she addressed an audience member directly and engaged with him humorously for several minutes, to be certain he was having fun. “The audience comes first,” she said. “I want to take care of the people who come to see me. They should laugh. It should be easy. Life is hard enough.”
MacFarland’s subject matter comes largely from her life, including bits about her husband and stepson. “My husband is my biggest fan and has seen my show many times. My stepson knows that he’s a topic in my act and he’s old enough to understand. I don’t change my act just because I’m in Natick. It’s comedy! It’s a heightened perspective of my life. That’s where the funny comes from.”
To prepare for an engagement, MacFarland makes a plan and then stays open to the moment. “It’s like I’m hosting a party. I have a road map for the show and I remain present and dialed in. I want to create an experience. Every show is an opportunity, a moment that I get to share with the audience. We need each other. If I’m taking care of my audience, then they will give me all the energy I need. I come prepared and ready to play.”
For a schedule of future shows, visit  Some highlights of her tour will be at Mohegan Sun, Key West and Laugh Boston.
“I consider buying a ticket to comedy show as self-care. It’s good for you!” MacFarland said. “Comedy heals and that feels incredible.”