Tonight at the Rockwell in Somerville, three super-talented comedians — including two of Boston comedy’s favorite ex-pats — will vie for Comedy Central’s consideration in the next round of tapings for the channel’s hit program, The Half Hour. Join Mehran Khaghani, Ryan Donahue, and Kenny DeForest for a special evening of stand-up comedy performances appropriately titled Three Half Hours, where each comedian showcases 30 minutes of original content that will be recorded and submitted to Comedy Central.
Born in London to Iranian parents and, as his bio claims, “socially acclimated in America by surly Bostonians,” Khaghani brings a singularly delicious combination of wit, pedigree and vulgarity to the stage. Having successfully made a name for himself in Boston, Khaghani ultimately made the leap to New York City after performing in the right place at the right time.
“I opened for Eugene Mirman at the Academy of Music in Northampton, and his manager at the time signed me on the spot that night and ordered me to move to New York,” Khaghani tells Vanyaland. “I had lived in New York previously, in 2000 to 2001, and the city kicked my ass, took all my money and spat me out in a matter of, like, six months. I swore I wouldn’t come back without a very clear and real invitation. And I got one!”
Khaghani was prominently featured on season nine of NBC’s Last Comic Standing, has been seen on MTV and Comedy Central, and is a regular at New York’s famous Comedy Cellar. But, as his career grows, the comedian maintains a massive soft spot for the city that gave him his start. “I always love performing in Boston,” he says. “It’s a chance to see old friends. Boston audiences aren’t at all delicate, which I love. We can go just about anywhere together.”
As for what’s on the agenda for the New Year, Khaghani’s plate is full: “I have some pitches that are floating around, lots of live shows, and then various TV gigs and auditions as they come up. I’m supposed to be working on a book but I don’t have the ego for it yet.”
While currently residing in New York City, Donahue started his comedy career in Boston and is a familiar face at the Rockwell. In 2015, Donahue made his international debut at the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal and has since become a regular in comedy venues across the country. In 2016, his half-hour comedy pilot was featured at the New York Television Festival and he made his late-night television debut on ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! Donahue is slated to appear in HBO’s Crashing, a 2017 comedy series produced by Pete Holmes and Judd Apatow.
Kenny DeForest is a renowned comic, producer and co-host of Comedy at the Knitting Factory, one of the most successful running comedy shows in the nation. He has appeared in various comedy festivals and has been featured in the Observer, Time Out New York, the New Yorker and Brooklyn Magazine which named him one of ‘Brooklyn’s Funniest.’ DeForest has also appeared on TruTV’s Friends of the People and was a writer for season one of MTV’s Bugging Out. In 2015, he was named one of Comedy Central’s prestigious “Comics to Watch.”
Turn your Monday around with guaranteed laughs at Three Half Hours: Khaghani, Donahue, & DeForest tonight at the Rockwell, located at 255 Elm St. in Somerville’s Davis Square. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door.