The Boston Herald

Thursday, February 16, 2006

(text below)

The new Bohemians: Steamy vaudeville duo heat up Hub/Worcester comedy scene
By Sean L. McCarthy
Thursday, February 16, 2006

Emerging from the dressing room of French Dressing, a boutique on Beacon Hill, the Steamy Bohemians look far steamier than bohemian.

“Did you say Steamy Bulemians?” asks Nicole Luparelli.

“They could be our alter egos in bizarro world,” adds Lainey Schulbaum.

Schulbaum and Luparelli have been spicing up the Boston comedy scene with their musical banter for the past few years. Since last summer, these 26-year-olds also have brought eclectic entertainment to Worcester (yes, Worcester), where Luparelli lives.

An innocent bystander asks what their songs sound like.

“They’re about some of the most poignant, touching and influential moments, like having a moment with someone, a fleeting glance - and realizing he’s your second cousin,” Luparelli says.

Schulbaum yells out: “Based on a true story!”

The Steamy Bohemians’ story began in a theater class at the University of Rhode Island, where both students also sang opera.

They first performed together onstage at a 2003 gig at Boston’s Lizard Lounge, but it wasn’t until that year’s holiday show that they sang their first song for laughs - a mock jingle for erotic massage parlor Happy Snake Spa.

The Steamy Bohemians soon got regular bookings around Boston.

Schulbaum currently is working with co-producer Scott Dakota of the Valhalla Kittens, trying to finish the Steamy Bohemians’ first album. Two songs are posted on the band’s page.

“I wanted to add some music parts, put it in Technicolor,” Schulbaum says.

Each song has a professional polish and added musical elements. “Ballad of the Bastard” is treated as musical theater. “The Less You Talk” gets marimbas.

In the meantime, the duo host Jerkus Circus, a variety show held each third Thursday at Ralph’s Chadwick Square Diner in Worcester. Each month’s show includes a blend of comedy, music and other entertainment, from wrestlers to belly dancers.

“A lot of people, when they think of variety, they think of Salisbury steak,” Luparelli says. “I want to change people’s impressions of variety and vaudeville.”

As for inspirational duos, Luparelli cites Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis. Schulbaum goes local, praising the Walsh Brothers for their comedy act and for their ability to coordinate their weekly Great and Secret Show.

“We want to do art. What we really want is a revolution,” Schulbaum says. “Don’t tell anyone.”

The Steamy Bohemians host Jerkus Circus at 9 tonight, with Black Cat Burlesque, Humanwine, Harrison Stebbins, Steve Donovan and Myq Kaplan, $5-$7, Ralph’s Chadwick Square Diner, 148 Grove St., Worcester. For additional information:

The Pulse Magazine

26 to Watch in 2006

By Bobby Hankison, Brian Goslow, Kevin Hyzak, and Dani Tifft

The Steamy Bohemians - Nicole Luparelli & Lainey Schulbaum
Age 26 (both) :: Singers, Musicians, Comedians :: Worcester

What do you get when you mix music, comedy, and sex appeal? You get the Steamy Bohemians. After spending the last 2 years playing comedy festivals and clubs like the Golden Nugget in Las Vegas, The Comedy Connection in Providence, and Jimmy Tingle’s Off Broadway, and racking up awards from the Lizard Lounge Comedy Contest and Laugh Across America, The Steamy Bohemians finally have their own show, “Jerkus Circus.” Lainey and Nicole met in college when both were studying voice and performing solo as stand-up comedians. They collaborated on a jingle for a massage parlor and immediately realized that two Bohemians are funnier than one. Just listen to songs “The Less You Talk, the More I like You,” “Is that Okay? (The Stalker Song),” and “My Love for You (The Mayonnaise Song) and you’ll agree. With original humor that ranges from the raucous to the marvelously silly, and playing an assortment of instruments including piano, guitar, voice, tambourine, banana shaker, finger cymbals and washboard, The Steamy Bohemians are single-handedly bringing back a nearly-lost form of entertainment, the variety show ~ and they’re bending, perverting, expanding, and Bohemianizing it with no apologies. When you come experience the SB’s for yourself (catch them every third Thursday at Ralph’s Chadwick Square Diner), remember that “Yes, you can buy us a drink… but no, we won’t split it.”



The Steamy Bohemians take the stage at Ralph’s

Turning Ralph's into The Jerkus Circus

By Scott McLennan
Sunday, November 13, 2005

The good ol’ variety show is back in vogue at Ralph’s Chadwick Square Diner in Worcester, but don’t go there looking for a resurrection of “Sonny & Cher”-style nights of song, jokes and banter.

The monthly staging of Jerkus Circus, as this new variety show is dubbed, is more likely to present belly dancers, R-rated comics and burlesque performers

“We had the idea to do a vaudeville-style show combining different elements,” explained Lainey Schulbaum of The Steamy Bohemians, the musical comedy team responsible for bringing Jerkus Circus to Ralph’s on the third Thursday of every month. “It’s goofy fun and a sexy atmosphere that seems to work well in a rock club.”

The Steamy Bohemians, which is Schulbaum and Nicole Luparelli, started Jerkus Circus at Ralph’s in July. Luparelli, who grew up in Worcester but pretty much bolted from the city around her college years, went to the venerable nightspot earlier this year to be in a video shot by her pal Robby Roadsteamer. She thought the place was great and talked booking agent Dickie Cummings into giving The Steamy Bohemians a night.

The first Jerkus Circus went heavy on comedy, and Luparelli said the formula didn’t fit. So the Bohemians refined the show to include other styles of offbeat entertainment that flaunted some rock ’n’ roll spirit without playing rock ’n’ roll outright.

This month’s edition of Jerkus Circus features comics DJ Hazard and Shane Webb, the burlesque of Lady Miss Iris, the band Leslie and the LYs, some belly dancers, and, of course, The Steamy Bohemians.

“At least now I feel like we know what we’re doing,” Luparelli said. “The first show was tough. I learned that people can’t stand four hours of comedy without something to break it up.”

And given the sort of act The Steamy Bohemians is, it became easy to find other performers willing to join in on the duo’s desire to bring sexy and goofy to Worcester (at least once a month).

The Steamy Bohemians came together two years ago. Luparelli and Schulbaum took a friendship that began in the late ’90s when the two met in college in Rhode Island and turned it into a professional teaming that Luparelli described as a cross-pollination of Martin and Lewis and Cheech & Chong.

Both women had been performing stand-up comedy routines, but it wasn’t until forming The Steamy Bohemians that the two brought in the music to their humor.

Some of the Bohemians’ songs, such as “The Less You Talk, The More I Like You,” grew out of stand-up routines. And some, such as “Ballad of the Bastard” are the products of fresh song craft. (It helps that both women studied music in college.)

The Bohemians’ humor springs from a healthy sense of the absurd with a touch of the ribald thrown in for good measure.

“I feel our roles are evolving constantly,” Schulbaum said. “I’m sort of becoming the straight man, and she is the ‘hoo-hoo’ person. She can be really random and play up that role, while I can be really snarky.”

The material springs more from hanging around and sharing experiences than any sort of concerted writing periods, Schulbaum said.

“We write better when we’re doing something other than writing,” she said.

The act has performed at various comedy festivals around the country and is in the midst of completing its first record, which should be out in a couple of months. Audio samples of the duo’s work are available online at

The duo sounded pleased with the way Jerkus Circus is shaping up in Worcester and hopes to bring similar sorts of shows to clubs in Boston and elsewhere in New England. And to lure younger audience members into a style of entertainment that harkens to the prehistoric days before television, the Bohemians offer discounted admission for anyone packing a college ID, and similar incentives to anyone who seems young at heart.

This month, for example, the discount goes to anyone who wears something sparkly to the show.

“If you just attempt something sparkly, we’ll probably let you in for five bucks,” Luparelli said.

Scott McLennan can be reached at


Comics Annihilate the Crowd at Toast

by Peter Yezukevich
February 16, 2005

On February 4th Union Square, Toast Lounge played host to comics for an hour of goofy madness. After weeks of soul-crushing cold weather, the near-tropical temperatures that greeted Somervillians on said date drew a near-hysterical crowd to Toast for another Union Square Comedy Hour, hosted by the inimitable Baratunde. In between sets by the legally blind Mike Sweeney, the bearded Korte Yeo, and female headliners the Steamy Bohemians, Baratunde warmed up the massive crowd with a reliable heaping of cerebral political humor. Sweeney, “Steve,” as Baratunde tended to call him, rocked the fresh Cliff Huxtable sweater and, while he did not sport quite the amount of facial hair that Yeo did, still shone with a nice mustache. And some good jokes. He was self-deprecating about his lack of sight, and amiable enough to draw laughs from some of his weaker material.

Yeo was next, and he quickly lunged on his obsession with the lead singer of the local rock outfit The Charms. Charmingly, his Boston accent rendered the band name “R”-less. No, not “Arli$$”as in the Robert Wuhl HBO show, immortalized by Norm MacDonald's David Letterman impression (”Arliss, Paul. Arliss.”) “R”-less, as in no”R.” “The Chaams,” said the funny, obsessed Bostonian. She is cute. I don't know if she is go-off-in-your-stand-up-act-about-her-while-wearing-a-The-Charms-shirt cute, but I can understand.

The cream de la soul of the evening came in the form of the toxic twins of the 21st century, The Steamy Bohemians. The duo, Lainey Schulbaum and Nicole Luparelli, at first seemed to be using the Toast stage as practice space, giggling and goofing on each other, until it became apparent their goofy relationship is part of the schtick. Armed with a guitar (Schulbaum) and tambourine (Luparelli), the ladies wowed the house with funny, silly songs sung by powerfully good voices. Their latest and final song of the evening was “Second Cousin.” According to their weblog, the song is a jaunty tune about the forbidden fruit of family. It killed.


Laughs fest offers serious exposure

By Nick A. Zaino III, Globe Correspondent
December 3, 2004

The cliche of the young performer vaulted into overnight success by a talent scout is as old as show business itself. However corny, that dream will be alive at least in part this weekend when scouts from Montreal's Just For Laughs festival come to three local clubs searching for talent for their 23d annual show next July.

They will visit Giggles in Saugus tonight, the Emerald Isle in Dorchester tomorrow, and the Comedy Studio in Cambridge on Sunday.

''The mandate is really to find the next up-and-coming stars of comedy or people who possess the ability to become those people," says Evi Regev, manager of programming and touring for the festival.

The path from discovery to stardom is a bit slower these days, compared with the years when comics such as Lenny Clarke and Tim Allen could walk out of the festival with a sitcom deal. But the festival still attracts scouts from every major network in North America and around the world, as well as managers and agents. Just getting in front of someone who could change your career is a big first step.

Tonight at Giggles, the roster is filled mostly with veterans hoping to prove their savvy, such as John David, Kevin Knox, and Paul D'Angelo. For a 15-year veteran like David, 44, who has been through the audition mill for the networks and HBO, a major audition such as this can be an epiphany.

''Being around for this long, I think I finally realized not to try to tailor-make the set to what you think they want, but just to do my thing," he says.

David has supported himself and his wife and child with comedy for nearly a decade, working the road but staying mostly in New England. But he still measures success in some degree by making it in television and movies. He's glad to have the chance to audition now, when he's comfortable onstage and off, rather than when he was younger.

''I probably wouldn't have appreciated it back then," he says. ''If I got it two years in, 'Hey, I'm a big shot.' This proves that persistence and hard work pay off. People take notice."

Most of the younger talent will be at the Isle and the Studio, shooting for a slot on the ''New Faces" show. Nicole Luparelli and Elaine Schulbaum, both 25, will be performing at the Studio as musical comedy act the Steamy Bohemians. They're looking for their first break.

According to Luparelli, the pair have spent the time leading up to the auditioning trying to tighten their normally improvised set and even making T-shirts to give to strangers that night to attract the judges' attention. She's hoping the Bohemians can become regulars at smaller festivals around the country.

''I'd like to get on the festival circuit," she says. ''I've heard that once you start doing them and if you do well at them, you can start getting work at all the other festivals."

Most of the comics won't know if they made the festival's final cut until spring, when the producers sit down and compare notes on the roughly 30 cities they will have visited. Though the competition is tough, Regev insists everyone has an equal shot, if they perform well.

''I'll put them all on one piece of paper and kind of look at them. And where they came from, what city, is really irrelevant to me," Regev says. ''All I care about in the end is, is the show going to be good and will they get something out of it?"

After that, each comic's opportunities are up to them. There are hundreds of shows over the week of the festival that they can make it into if they catch a producer's eye.

''They either rise to the occasion when they get here or they don't, unfortunately," Regev says.


Get your laughs in before you vote

By Lindsey Anton/ Correspondent
Thursday, October 28, 2004

Tired of all the political mumbo jumbo? Did the presidential debates make your head spin?
"Lean to Your Left" has exactly what the doctor ordered. This politically conscious show will relieve all that White House frustration through stand-up comedy, skits and music. Veggie Planet, Harvard Square's vegetarian pizzeria, sponsors the third "Lean to Your Left" performance on Monday at 8 p.m. at Club Passim. The show offers a night to dine on creative dishes by Veggie Planet's co-owner and chef Didi Emmons, laugh out loud and relieve some anxiety before voting the next day. Acts will be geared toward the general election with ongoing news, election results, a debate and music. Entertainers include: musical guests The Steamy Bohemians; stand-up comedians Joe Wong and Peter Dutton; and the sketch group Mrs. Potatohead. Brian Longwell will present "I Didn't Vote for George W." with his overhead projector, and Evan O'Sullivan will perform with his alter-ego, the television, as Evan O'Television. Photo Gallery The Steamy Bohemians will be musical guests at Club Passim's Lean to Your Left' performance Nov. 1.

Adam Penn, co-owner of Veggie Planet, approached host and Somerville comedian Peter Dutton to create a regular show that would share the restaurant's socially conscious philosophy. Dutton's first "Lean to Your Left" show in July was well received, and the audience can expect to find the same political humor with some new performers. He said the show isn't liberal for the sake of being liberal; there are four years of ammunition fueling the performance's slant.

"It makes sense to make fun of the party doing the most damage," Dutton said. "Comedy is all about finding the truth in a situation."

Dutton, head comedy writer for "Steve Sweeney's Neighborhood" morning show on WZLX 100.7 FM, said the show combines news, music and plot-driven skits.

"It puts a TV atmosphere in a club setting," he said.

Performer Evan O'Television takes the TV atmosphere to the next level by incorporating a television into his act.

"The TV generally takes the relationship of antagonist to me," he said. "Most of my humor is about whatever is going on in the world. At this point, it became hard to ignore the ridiculousness that's going on."

Dutton promises the show will be a place for liberals to feel less frustrated, but conservatives are encouraged to attend.

"It's all political and it's all funny," he said.
Veggie Planet will continue to hold "Lean to Your Left" on the first Monday of every other month at Club Passim.


Boston's Best Women Comics 'Go Wild'

by Globe correspondent Nick A. Zaino III
February 27, 2004

There won't be any nudity Thursday at the Comedy Studio. But there will be a lot of outlandish sketch and standup comedy, and even a musical number or two, part of "Girlz Go Wild," a show spotlighting nine of Boston's brightest female comedians. Kelly MacFarland, who hosts Wednesday nights at the Studio, invited several friends to perform together last November for a one-time show. It sold out and ran smoothly enough that the group decided to do it again.
"It's really kind of a cool thing to see all of these talented women who are so much more than stand-ups," says MacFarland. "People think, oh, you can pull out five funny minutes, but these women are way more talented than that. They sing, they dance, they write sketches, they act. It's amazing."
The comedians on the bill provide a full spectrum of comic personalities: MacFarland, Malissa Hunt, and Mindi Fay are full of energy and attitude, in contrast to Carolyn Plummer's deadpan delivery. Nicole Luparelli and Elaine Schulbaum, sometimes known as the musical comedy act the Steamy Bohemians, are campy throwbacks to Mae West. Dot Dwyer is an improv and sketch pro. Alana Devich can be as sly as she is self-deprecating. Erin Judge is prone to subversive politics. Somehow all of these personalities work together to form a cohesive show.
"When you do something like this with a purpose - we're going to be a troupe, we're going to put ourselves together and work together, not just sort of each do stand-up on a women's showcase - you get a very different product," says Judge. "It's people who have a lot of creative influences from different places coming together as a group, and it's really worked out well. It's more of a choir than a bunch of individuals standing up and saying their own thing."
MacFarland has been taking the show to colleges and hopes to continue "Girlz Go Wild" nights in clubs and on the road as an equal-opportunity offender.
"It's poking fun at women, but also poking fun at relationships and at men," she says. "It's fun. Everybody's a target."



* ***