A couple of sketch comedians

ANNMARIE ELY

James Daly didn’t meet his
girlfriend in a bar; he got to
know her in a red wig.
Daly, who has led a
Philadelphia-based sketch
comedy troupe called “Comic
Energy” for over 10 years, met
his girlfriend, Mary Sack,
when he cast her as Lindsay
Lohan in a comedy routine.
After the show he asked her
to join his comedy troupe. The
two became close friends and
over time a romantic relationship
developed.
“We still are the best of
friends, as well as the relationship
part,” said Daly.
“What did you just smear on
my sister’s face?” yells James
Daly his face red, eyebrows
contorted. Sack is playing his
sister. His eyes squint, his arms
flail. A shorter man follows,
trotting happily behind,
appearing to be unaware that
Daly is angry. “Can I be your
side kick?’ asks the follower.
Daly grabs the follower’s
hand and sniffs it, inhaling
deeply. He looks like he should
stop and count to 10. A horrific
realization runs over his face
as he pretends to smell poop.
Expletives explode out of
Daly’s mouth.
“Every sketch is an entirely
different story–different characters,
different jokes, basically
different worlds,” said Daly.
Daly cracks up, as Sack
reams out the actor who is
playing her husband. The husband
has been caught dialing a
phone sex line, “socially conscious
singles,” which benefits
charity.
“Fitzy?!Who is Fitzy?!.my
name’s not Fitzy.” rambles
Sack, looking genuinely hurt
and annoyed as she shakes her
head. She’s improvising her
way through the scene as
friends look on and laugh.
“I don’t play favorites in
casting or writing for her. I
don’t have to. Everything
Mary does always seems to
catch fire. She’s very professional,”
said Daly of Sack.
Daly serves as actor, promoter,
organizer, writer, and director
for the troupe.
Daly and Sack aren’t on
stage together a lot, but when
they are it is hard to recognize
them. Their roles have ranged
from sister and brother to a pair
of old extremely outgoing
swingers.
“The characters we play are
so ridiculous that I barely realize
we are on stage together,”
said Daly of performing with
Sack.
When Daly was a standup
comedian, he had the urge to
see his jokes happen right in
front of people. He ran with the
idea and formed a sketch comedy
troupe to perform short
skits based on his stand up routines.
From there the idea grew.
“Philadelphia didn’t have a
sketch comedy troupe, and I
was fascinated by the idea of
putting one together,” said
Daly. In the late 90s, sketch
wasn’t something a lot of people
were familiar with.
“It was an extremely hard
sell in the beginning, as no one
knew what sketch comedy
was. I mean sure ‘Saturday
Night Live’ was very popular
back then and so was the show
‘Whose Line…’These were the
two shows we had to mention
when trying to explain to
someone what the show was
all about…,” said Daly.
In Oct. 1999, Daly realized
his goal, and “Comic Energy”
was born. The troupe has
changed members quite a bit,
but Daly is still leading the
troupe.
“It’s a lot of fun and Mary is
very supportive of me in doing
this, and that means everything,”
said Daly.
The couple will be joining
forces for a spring show featuring
some new sketches.
Sack pulls out a red wig to
and begins to brush and cut it.
She bobby pins the wig perfectly
in place on a man who is
wearing lipstick and a dress.
Daly gets behind the camera
and directs.
The man in the dress is flirting
with a younger terrified
man who is playing a store
clerk. Sack watches the man in
the red wig and smiles. This is
the same wig she wore when
she met James. Today, the couple
is still working together
toward the same goal, making
people laugh.