Published: Thursday, October 23, 2008
Manchester man laughs all over New England
By PAMME BOUTSELIS, Correspondent
MANCHESTER â€“ At an age when most teenagers are contemplating a part-time job, Rob Steen was
starting a company. A Boston street performer at 12, Steen created North Shore Comedy in 1986,
when he was 15. With juggling and improv skills under his belt, he decided to give stand-up comedy a
â€œI began sneaking into comedy clubs in Boston to do my act,â€� said Steen. â€œI was not
the best comic back then, but as I got to know the other acts, I began to book small clubs all over my
hometown and beyond.â€�
Once Steen went to college, he took note of the large college population throughout western
Massachusetts and began booking shows in the area. Upon returning to the North Shore, Steen
picked up booking there once again but decided that his company that would book quality, clean
shows rather than the norm in those days, which was more shock than funny. â€œThis idea was not
popular with the acts at the time,â€� said Steen. â€œHowever, I was able to then be booked in many
other venues, such as corporate events, churches, fundraisers and so on.â€�
Recognizing the availability of venues in nontraditional markets, many in the suburbs of
Massachusetts, as well as throughout New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine, Steen started booking
Boston and New York comics throughout those areas. At just 21, he was booking more than 20 shows
a week and performing, as well. He was the youngest agent in New England with the largest client
â€œMany of the acts liked working for me because they were paid on time, the gigs were fun,
and it was the start of something big,â€� said Steen. â€œAs the comedy boom died in Boston, it was
just starting in northern New England, and I was the one who created that niche.â€�
Steen performs more than 350 shows a year personally and has been a regular guest on â
€œThe Late Showâ€� with David Letterman. His roster of more than 300 comedians from Boston, Los
Angeles and New York are seen regularly throughout the country and on television. They perform
locally in comedy clubs and in a wide range of fundraiser comedy nights for nonprofit organizations,
such as police and fire
department events, parent-teacher groups, shelters and other charitable groups.
Two of Steenâ€™s comedians, Robbie Printz and Joey Carroll, recently performed at
Margueriteâ€™s Placeâ€™s annual fall fundraiser at the Crowne Plaza in Nashua. The nonprofit has
hosted comedians as part of its annual event for the past few years.
Steen said, â€œMany groups ask me to put together a comedy show for the event because itâ
€™s a great draw. Many clients have dinner/awards banquets and then end the night with a comedian
Printz, Gregg Boggis and Mike Cote are just a few of Steenâ€™s comedians that are from the
Nashua area. Printz is a national headliner, based locally, who has not only been on MTV and
Comedy Central but also was the 2003 Boston Comedy Festival winner. Boggis, who hails from
Milford, is a comedian who has also appeared in numerous print and television commercials.
Steen is currently based in Manchester and New York.
He recently opened Headliners Comedy Club in Manchester, at the Amoskeag Bridge rotary in the
Clarion Hotel in Manchester.
Steen loves doing what he does and is appreciative that he can make a decent living at it. He says
every show is different because he never knows just what will happen. He works off the audience to
make it more personal, which in turn creates a different experience each time someone sees his act.
Regardless of where heâ€™s performing, Steen finds that some subjects hold universal appeal.
Whether itâ€™s current events or pop culture and relationship material, most people have pets, jobs,
spouses or kids and can relate.
â€œI like booking other acts, too, because I get to see them grow and eventually become stars,â€�
\Heâ€™s booked them all at one point or another, too, including Lenny Clark, Dane Cook, Kevin
Meany, Bill Cosby, Bob Marley and the late George Carlin, amongst many others. While North Shore
Comedy services college and corporate events as well as clubs, nonprofits and private events, itâ€™s
up to Steen to find the right match for each event.
â€œNot everyone is the right match for every event,â€� said Steen.
â€œI think that is the key to my success; the ability to find the right match.â€� .
For info on Rob Steen or to Hire A Comic: RENTACOMIC.com / 800-923-0879