Still trying to decide what to do on Christmas Eve? Save the movie for the 25th and grab some egg rolls and share some laughs at the New Center for Arts and Culture’s Moo Shu Jew event. This week I chatted with Steve Calechman, one of the show’s featured comedians. When he’s not doing stand-up, Steve is a contributing editor for Men’s Health and the announcer for the Boston Lobsters tennis team. We chatted about his many projects and his own Christmas Day plans.
Tell me about the Moo Shu Jew event.
Jews have many traditions. One of them is going out for Chinese food and a movie on Christmas Eve. Moo Shu Jew keeps the food and substitutes a comedy show. I think it’s a good switch. It’s going to be a live, communal experience, and you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy it. Everyone’s allowed to come and get the jokes. This is what you want to be doing that night. You don’t have to get dressed up and you don’t have to dance. You just sit, eat and laugh—the basics of human existence.
You wear a lot of hats: stand-up, acting, writing for a magazine, announcing tennis. How do you keep it all straight?
I think I don’t even think about keeping it straight, and that keeps everything straight. It’s all playing with words, just at different venues, so they all keep each other fresh. But really the short answer to how I do it all is that I’m completely amazing.
You’ve interviewed some big names for Men’s Health. Give me some tips, interviewer to interviewer.
At the beginning of the interview I always ask the person to spell his or her name and give his/her title. It sets a nice foundation for being accurate, and I think it builds some trust. I never worry about asking a dumb question, and sometimes I’ll preface with, “This might be dumb.” By acknowledging it, usually the person won’t think so. And listening is key, because you don’t know where things are going to go. I have a sense of what I want to find out, but I don’t have many pre-determined questions. I’m just ready to guide things along. In that way, an interview is like the story itself. You don’t know the final destination; stuff just falls into place.
What movie are you going to see on Christmas Day?
I have a 2-year-old. I haven’t seen a movie since before he was born, and that’s not going to be changing soon. I support movies in my head and read an occasional review to live vicariously. My wife and I will probably end up watching something we’ve stockpiled on the DVR from the Food Network. Our drama will involve secret basket ingredients and most likely buttercream.
Four Questions is a weekly interview column featuring interesting people connected with the Greater Boston Jewish community. Find past columns here. Have an idea of someone we should interview? Email Molly!
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