So funny, it hurts
Dorchester-born actress bridges her comedic chops and dramatic flair with new one-woman show
Q. You’ve worked with Donnie Wahlberg before, in the film “Southie.’’ How did you land the role as Becky in “The Fighter’’?
A. The casting director called me straight up. Mark [Wahlberg] actually didn’t even know I got the part. And when I walked on set, the director had no idea that I knew him. He was like “What?! You know each other?’’ I was pretty proud of myself. I was like “Yeah, I know him, and I didn’t even use it!’’ [Laughs.]
Q. Do you find that dramatic work comes as easily to you as comedy?
A. Yes, though early on in my career, I was stuck between two worlds. I was getting a lot of movie auditions and callbacks, but I was also doing well on TV with my stand-up act. That’s why I wrote my one-woman show; I wanted to showcase everything I do — and it really does that. It brings you from heart-wrenching sorrow to hilariousness beyond your wildest dreams. It’s a bridge that brings it all together. I think it’s very original — and don’t ask me why, but I didn’t want to accept that I was original for a long time.
Q. Do you think growing up in Savin Hill helped equip you to handle comedy as readily as you do more serious material?
A. Absolutely. But that’s Boston in general. I don’t like to say anything derogatory about Boston because I’m so proud of where I come from — it’s made me who I am. Without my Boston upbringing, I wouldn’t be as creative as I am. I wouldn’t have the guts. People think I have guts beyond guts, and a lot of that comes from where I come from. But my sense of humor comes from here, too. I think it was just the way that we communicated — and a lot of that was through making fun of each other. A good part of my show is about learning a different way to communicate and connect. My family all grew up in the same house, and I’m fascinated that you can grow up in the same household and experience things completely differently. Part of the maturation process is to come to terms with that.
Q. This show sounds like it could be very useful to Bostonians.
A. Well yeah, because I feel like sometimes we actually repel what we’re looking for with our sarcasm. By the way, I am so sorry about all the squealing in the background — I’m at the Boylston T stop. For some reason I thought this would be the best place to get off and do this! [Laughs.]
Q. Well let’s see who can make a bigger noise: Sue Costello or the Green Line.
A. Oh, I can talk over anything.
This interview has been edited and condensed.
Michael Brodeur can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.