After retirement, she finds laughs on the comedy circuit

By Ronald MacArthur

When most people retire, the last thing on their mind would be getting up on stage doing stand-up comedy. In fact, Mary Anne Nichols, 69, of Seaford may be in a club of one in that regard. For most of the past 14 years, she has been performing at comedy clubs throughout the United States and even a few in the Caribbean. She was a finalist on the national internet Star Search II. In addition, she has performed for numerous corporations and service organizations and for many private clubs and resorts and on television in this country and Canada. She also took part in a comedy contest on Good Morning America. She said that being a comic has always been in the back of her mind, but her life got in the way. Born in Dover, she traveled the world with her former husband, a career Army officer, moving herself and her four children more than 20 times before setting in Seneca, N.Y. She held a variety of jobs including writing for a daily newspaper, writing features and a humor column, editing a weekly newspaper, working as a nutrition aide, working in sales and public relations. She settled into a job as a clerk for the New York State Supreme Court where she retired after 14 years. She has recorded a CD titled “Ol’ Blue Is A Dog’s Name” and includes bits with titles such as “Rag Dolls,” “Paper Panties,” and “Looking for Love at the VFW.” The CD was recorded at McGavin’s Comedy Club in Hamburg, N.Y. “I always knew that I was going to do something on stage in front of an audience,” she said. Throughout her years as an Army wife whenever there were plays or performances, she was among the first to volunteer. “You should never give up on your dream,” she said. “In school I was the class clown and I’ve always had a big mouth. Before I retired I had done a little open-mike work.”
Like most comics, she can still recall her first stage appearance. “I was so excited when I got a big laugh that I couldn’t sleep that night,” she said. “ I went home and crocheted a baby hat. “It’s a high - laughter is such a high, there’s no way to describe it because it’s such an incredible feeling. “There was just way too much snow in upstate New York, so I had to get out,” she said. “So why Seaford? I’ve asked myself that a million times. Mostly because of the weather. Dover was too big and I couldn’t afford to live at the beach.” Since her move in September from New York to Seaford, she has put her comedy career on hold. “I can’t wait to get back up on stage. I’m like an old wrinkled fish out of water,” she said. She said she is trying to crack into the Delaware resort area comic scene. “But it’s hard because they don’t know me. Sometimes they are afraid that I’m going to talk about making doilies or my poodle or something or they tell me that they already have an old lady comic,” she said. “Even with a tape, it’s hard to get into some clubs cold like that.” She started her comic act as “The National Poster Girl for Menopause.” She added that she has passed that stage in her life but still works it into her act. “My character does not accept her age too awful well,” she said with a smile. Nichols has friends who live in Federalsburg and will return to perform there during the January “Thaw” Fest on Sunday, Jan. 16, at the Federalsburg VFW. Tickets are available by calling 1-410-754-7001. The Medics Plus will also perform. Tickets are $20 per couple and $10 for singles in advance.

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