Boston comedian Brian Donnelly’s rescue pet is ready for show biz

Boston comedian Brian Donnelly and his rescue dog BT (Photo: Brian Donnelly)
Boston comedian Brian Donnelly and his rescue dog BT (Photo: Brian Donnelly)

You’ve probably seen comedian Brian Donnelly performing at ImprovBoston, where he’s entertained Boston audiences for the past five years. But lately, he’s taken on a new job—that of dog owner. And his MSPCA rescue pet named BT will soon be showing off his acting chops on the comedian’s new web series called “StepFriendz,” which launched March 25. Boston.com Pets caught up with Donnelly to ask how he found his pet, if BT provides comedic inspiration, what BT stands for, and what being an “obsessive” dog person means.

Boston.com Pets: Tell us about “StepFriendz,” your new Web series with co-creator Mike Varejao.

Donnelly: Some of our comedy is definitely a little out there—that’s an understatement. But, I don’t know, all the shows we’ve done around town, the most memorable ones, have been sort of like a circus. (The premise of the show is) we were best friends growing up and then I went and married his mom later in life and now I’m his stepdad, but we’re still best friends.

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Boston.com Pets: Does your pet perform on your Web series?

Donnelly: He’ll be in there, he’ll be in the Web series. Most of the stuff we shoot ends up being in and around my house, so he’s always there. Thank God my wife is supportive and kind of holds him back and keeps him from running into shots and stuff.

Boston.com Pets: How did you choose your pet’s name?

Donnelly: Actually his name is BT because when we adoped him he didn’t have a name and they were calling him BT for Boston terrier and we liked it so we kept it.

Boston.com Pets: Were you looking for that particular breed?

Donnelly: We were just looking for a smaller dog but, to be honest, now I would get another Boston terrier. We’ve totally become obsessive dog people.

Boston.com Pets: (laughing) What does that mean?

Donnelly: Every time you go out, you’re like, ‘Oh we should get the dog a treat.’ It’s like a child. Every time we go out, we’re like, ‘We wonder what the dog is doing?’ And we have had to delete photos of our dog off our phones because we have so many on our phones that we can’t take any more photos.

Boston.com Pets: Have animals been a part of your comedy at all over the years?

Donnelly: There’s this sketch we’ve done which is called ‘Dogs for Hands.’ It’s basically two guys at an airport with their hands going crazy in dog bowls with water going everywhere. The plane goes to board and they say, ‘We’re boarding flight 205 to Pittsburgh’ and they say ‘The elderly, children, and Dogs for Hands are free to board at any time’ and we’re like, ‘Oh that’s us.’ Thirty seconds of absolute comedy garbage but people like it because we’re soaking wet when we’re done.

Boston.com Pets: Take us back to the day you adopted BT.

Donnelly: We’ve been in touch with some of the folks at MSPCA Nevins farm. Because of the size of our place, we knew we couldn’t accommodate a huge lab or something. They said, ‘Oh, we have this Boston terrier and you should look at him.’ They actually sent us a photo and I was like, ‘Oh my God he looks great.’ I grew up with a dog and I didn’t have the connection I had with my dog growing up that I do with this dog. I connected with him. He jumped up on me immediately and I’m like, ‘Oh, we’re getting this guy. Today.’

Boston.com Pets: What do you know about BT’s past?

Donnelly: I don’t know. They just know he was a stray.

Boston.com Pets: Tell us three fun facts about BT.

Donnelly: He likes to be carried around like a baby, which is ridiculous. Even though he has Boston in his name, he absolutely hates the cold. He refuses to go out in the cold. After you walk him for an hour, he’ll come back and run laps for 30 minutes. Like, nonstop.

Boston.com Pets: Is he providing any comedic inspiration?

Donnelly: He’s there anytime I do any kind of writing. I gotta say, he’s the best little co-worker I’ve ever had. He just kind of sits there and kind of hangs out under my arm when I write. It’s nice. If I’m writing for very long periods of time, I’m like, ‘We should get up and go for a walk.’

Boston.com Pets: He helps you clear your head?

Donnelly: He does. Our neighborhood, we’ve been there for about a year and a half. Before we moved there, we sort of walked around there a little. But now that we have a dog, we know every street. He’s gotten us out to explore Arlington, which is nice.

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