Meet the comics of the Vanyaland Comedy & Music Festival

Editor’s note: Things may look a little different for this week’s edition of our weekly Mic’d Up, and that’s simply because they are. Coming up on Saturday (August 13), Vanyaland celebrates the very first Vanyaland Comedy & Music Festival, where some of the best comedic and musical forces the local scene has to offer come together for a day of free fun, laughs, and community. So, with that being said, we’re taking this space this week to help you get to know the comedians who set to help make the festival’s maiden voyage a memorable one. Stay tuned this week for more updates and news for the fest!

Will Smalley: As one of two hosts for the day’s comedy happenings, Smalley’s talents shine through on so many levels. Not only is he a top-notch host with a tractor beam of upbeat and unadulterated personality, but his storytelling chops and joke writing ability help to maintain setting the bar pretty high for those who follow him.

Rob Crean: His silly streak is brighter then the midday sun, but Rob Crean can also craft one hell of a story that wades in both serious and funny waters all at the same time. As the day’s second host, catch him deliver the magic in between a few sets so you can further understand why he is so widely respected in the region.

Brian Glowackic: He’s a Nantucket native through and through, he’s a dad, and last but certainly not least, he’s one of the best damn comedians on the grind in the Commonwealth and beyond. Coming off a historic headlining show at The Wilbur in June, the day’s headliner is a tried-and-true “comic’s comic” who has proven his dedication to his craft and his fellow comedians in the trenches. He’s our friend. He’s your friend. He’s the one and only true island boy, BGlow.

Ken Reid: Back in the flesh, it’s the TV Guidance Counselor himself. With a vast knowledge of pop culture, a refreshingly unfiltered take on topics that many consider sacred, and a dangerously sharp comedic intellect, Reid makes his way back to the stage for a rare live stand-up appearance to share what’s been going on in his world.

Emily Ruskowski: For the love of ’90s boy bands, make sure you catch at least one Emily Ruskowski set (preferably this one, no bias intended). Feeling a sense of understanding from the person behind the mic makes for an all-around great experience, and for Millenials, Ruskowski offers that and so much more.

Shaun Connolly: Come the holidays, Shaun Connolly is a fine purveyor of tastefully tacky sweaters. But when it comes to the summer, he just brings the straight comedy heat. As one of the architects of the classic Hot Dog! Variety Show in Worcester, Connolly’s multi-faceted comedy talents make for an all-encompassing comedy clinic that is not to be missed.

Andrew Mayer: The jokes and stories that pour from the mic when Andrew Mayer hits the stage are, hands down, some of the best you’ll hear in the city. With a beaming light of positivity and an infectious enjoyment smile, Mayer’s enjoyment for what he does is obvious, and that approach exudes through every punchline to create a great atmosphere that just screams a love for stand-up comedy.

Briana Woodward: Not many people keep as real, upfront and honest as Brieana Woodward. As the curator of the Bear Giggles showcase in Worcester, Woodward knows what it takes to put together a killer set, and consistently delivers on what she sets out to bring to her audience.

Nick Ortolani: Verbal illustration may just seem like fancy way to say “visually descriptive,” but Ortolani has the knack to truly paint a picture with his time on stage, and one that is hard to match. With an even-keel approach to storytelling and punchlines, Ortolani’s aura is as warm and welcoming as it is funny, which is just some of the characteristics that make him such a heavy-hitting talent behind the mic.

Tiny: Balancing a lighthearted and upbeat approach with a top-tier delivery of dark punchlines, the term in which he’s self-described as a “punk rock comedian” is really no exaggeration. If he’s got something to say, he’s going to say it, which is admirable in and of itself, but being able to do so without sacrificing the comedic value is something else entirely.

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