Mark Breslin's Comic Stripped: Funny wife, funny life?

Can comics and marriage really work?


Matt Baram and Naomi Snieckus are a dynamite team onstage and off

It’s February, the month of Valentine’s Day, and so our hearts turn to thoughts of love and romance. Less so perhaps for comics, who aren’t known for their excesses of sentiment or soft, warm centres.

Relationships may be tough to maintain for most of us, but for comedians it’s near impossible. Most are single, some are divorced and a rare few are married with a couple of kids. Rarer still are those comedians married to each other. 

But a number of couples are bucking the trend, such as Matt Baram and Naomi Snieckus, Second City vets who left for Hollywood last year. 

Just before they left, the duo wrote and performed in a show at Theatre Passe Muraille that showcased the foibles of cohabitation.

Are there aspects to their relationship they wouldn’t bring onstage? “We wouldn’t avoid any topic. We only care if it’s funny,” they say.

Improv players will tell you that stage improv is a metaphor for life. It requires emotional and mental flexibility, a generosity of spirit and a grand sense of adventure. 

You know who else advocates these same qualities? Marriage counsellors.

Baram sums it up this way: “We get to travel together, she makes me laugh, it’s a great life.” 

But what about standups, who don’t usually have the word “share” in their vocabulary? 

North York transgressive comic Aaron Berg recently married Christine Meehan, an up-and-coming comic from N.Y.C. They met at a New York comedy club, and although Meehan was adamant about not dating comedians, they clicked anyway. 

“We make it a point not to talk comedy too much. I get miserable before roasts [Berg’s speciality] and auditions. We aren’t professionally jealous. We know that art happens in its own time.”

So says Berg. Meehan sees it a bit differently.

“Working with my husband can be nerve-racking. I followed him onstage once and cried. I will never do that again for the rest of our lives.” 

Finally, let’s give a Valentine’s shout out to this year’s official Cute Comedy Couple, Matt O’Brien and Julia Hladkowicz, who moved to L.A. from Toronto on New Year’s Day, posting photos on Instagram of their long drive through Trump country. 

“I love talking comedy all the time, so it’s perfect being with someone who’s exactly on the same page,” says O’Brien. 

And Hladkowicz agrees. “One of us getting something can only help the other person,” she says.

Post City Magazines’ humour columnist, Mark Breslin, is the founder of Yuk Yuk’s comedy clubs and the author of several books, including Control Freaked.

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