AB Cassidy is using comedy as a teaching tool to understand each other

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The Duxbury native returns to Nick’s Comedy Stop this weekend to make us laugh, and to help us find common ground

AB Cassidy may not have started doing stand-up until they moved to Los Angeles, but when the Duxbury native makes the trip from out west do a show or two for hometown crowds, the dirty water inspiration is obvious.

That inspiration will be on full display at Nick’s Comedy Stop on Friday night (May 31), as Cassidy hits up Warrenton Street for one night only this weekend. And while they weren’t bred out of their hometown scene, Cassidy still holds a deep appreciation for the masters that carved the way for the future of Boston comedy.

“Even though I didn’t start here, I still love the comedy legends that have come out of Boston, like Lenny Clarke,” Cassidy tells Vanyaland.  “I remember one of the first comedy shows I saw was Patty Ross telling jokes about having the same name as a bus driver, and those really only work with the thick accent, so there definitely is a charm to it that inspired me, for sure.”

While their hometown inspiration may have inadvertently laid the foundation for a career in stand-up, it’s really Cassidy’s L.A. grind and desire to see more diverse characters in TV and film that has brought them creative opportunities outside of stand-up.

While they’re set to direct their debut feature-length film on Cape Cod, the opportunities afforded to them on the other side of the camera, whether it be in TV or film, have become the most rewarding, in terms of helping to diversify characters with the roles they’re cast in like NBC’s This Is Us, and Netflix’s Lez Bomb

“Getting that opportunity to be someone on screen, for other kids like me who haven’t seen someone like themselves on screen before, that’s my biggest and most exciting takeaway with all of these opportunities,” says Cassidy. “That’s what I’m trying to accomplish.”

While their film work holds a lot of weight, in terms of what they’re trying to accomplish with diversifying characters and representing the LGBT community in the roles they’re cast in, the advocacy and mission naturally leaks into their stand-up career. 

As one of comedy’s very few non-binary players in the scene today, the progeny of director Bobby Farrelly has made it a mission of theirs to not only represent the LGBT community both inside and out of comedy, but to also use the time on stage as sort of a subtle teaching tool to get people together, and help bridge the gap of understanding with laughter.

“Comedy is a great way to get people to start understanding things they might not normally be accustomed to, and you kind of connect with people through laughter. People can learn while laughing,” says Cassidy. “I think today, there’s a really big P.C. culture, where a lot of people in the LGBT community are very specific and P.C., which is fine, but I don’t think that’s a way to get people that aren’t like us to understand. I think you can do that by connecting with them and sharing common ground, and laughter is the best way to share that. If you can laugh together, that’s the start of understanding each other.”

AB CASSIDY :: Friday, May 31 at Nick’s Comedy Stop, 100 Warrenton St. in Boston, MA :: 8 p.m., $20 :: Ticket and event info