Shane Mauss was in grade school the first time someone told him he should be a comic. Though clueless about what that meant, the youngster was intrigued.
“Just the idea of being on stage and telling people jokes sounded amazing to me,” he said. “So I wanted to be a standup comedian before I’d even seen one.”
As a teenager, Mauss (rhymes with “boss”) gorged on Comedy Central, studying comics both good and bad.
“For me, it was all about learning,” he said.
At 23, Mauss left his native Wisconsin hoping to break into standup. He headed east to Boston — not for a scene that launched comics from Steven Wright to Bill Burr, but because a friend was moving there.
“I didn’t really know anybody, so I said, ‘Sure, that’s close enough to New York.’”
This accidental landing was fortunate naiveté for Mauss, who at that point had yet to walk onstage.
“Once I became a comedian, I realized that … starting out in New York sounds like an absolute nightmare. Round up 20 people, go to a show, get 5 minutes of stage time.”
Boston offered a wide variety of venues, from the mainstream Comedy Connection to Cambridge’s hipster Comedy Studio. Beyond was the New England circuit.
“I got to go and do one-nighters at Elks lodges and places like that for people not exposed to comedy as much,” he said. “It made me a more versatile comedian.”
In 2007, his third year as a professional, Mauss won top comic honors at the prestigious US Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, an out-of-nowhere triumph that shocked the comedy world. In short order, Mauss had an agent, a manager and a booking on Conan O’Brien’s late night show.
“It happened so fast, I really didn’t have time to process it,” said Mauss. “But it was amazing [and] I was able to become a full-time comedian after that.”
Mauss released his first album in 2010, Jokes to Make My Parents Proud, and starred in his own Comedy Central special around the same time. He spent two years refining material for a new special, the sexually themed Mating Season, that debuts on Netflix in June. The hour-long set was taped last July at Boston’s Wilbur Theatre and delves into both human and animal reproductive habits and rituals.
A show on April 23 at Shaskeen Pub in Manchester kicks off a month-long tour with stops in Canada, the Midwest and Arizona, as well as a four-date run at Boston Laugh. The comic promises a new hour of material when he comes to the Granite State.
Of being on the road, Mauss said, “I love it. It kind of depends on how the shows are, but I have a lot of fun.”
Mauss now lives in Malibu with his girlfriend, April Macie, also a comic.
“It’s been good for me,” Mauss said. “Boston is a really good place for developing, then there is a bar you hit at a certain point and you need to move on.”
The two host a popular podcast, Double Date With April Macie & Shane Mauss, which welcomes other couples for an hour of conversation. Past guests include international standup star Russell Peters and actress Madeline Zima (Californication) and fellow comedian couple Mo Mandel and Kelly Landry.
One of the best visits stretched into a two-part episode.
“We had a couple of friends come over to our house and we smoked a ridiculous amount of medical marijuana,” said Mauss. “It was the only time we smoked on the show … the craziest time ever.”
As seen in the April 17, 2014 issue of the Hippo.