Comedian hits Palace stage with new material

Maine’s Bob Marley will play Manchester’s Palace Theatre on Friday, April 20, and Saturday, April 21.

Marley, a New England staple, moved back to Maine after an 11-year stint in Los Angeles. He has appeared on “The Tonight Show” and “Late Show with David Letterman.”

Today, he said, he loves performing around the East Coast.

“I like playing here because you can put your finger on the pulse. The lifestyle is the same, whether you make $10,000 or $10 million a year – and most people know the routine – you go to your parents’ house for dinner on Sunday, you’re either going to watch the Sox, the Pats, the Bruins or the Celtics, and you’re going to go to the lake or the beach, etc. There are so many similarities with all of us.”

Marley quickly cracks wise about New England winters.

“I love it when the power goes out,” he said. “And everybody in the house says, ‘Did the power go out?’ No, all the lightbulbs burned out at the same time. Go up to the second floor and see if the power is out up there. No, I’m sure the second floor is zoomin’. That’s on a whole different grid, that second floor.’?”

While he still plays 15 weeks around the country, Marley said he rarely has to cater the show toward other audiences.

“I don’t really. When I go out on the road, audiences know that person from New England. They already get that dry, sarcastic sense of humor. They get it. They see movies like that. When you get up there on stage and that accent comes out, people get it. I love doing it. You write it, you direct it, you edit it, you get up on stage and perform it.

“When I first moved to Los Angeles, people said, ‘You ought to be an actor,’ and I had only been doing stand-up to that point. I actually did get cast in a few things, but at the end of the day, I liked being a comedian. I missed New England. I missed going skiing. I missed the people here. I miss getting in your car and driving down the highway and not swearing at the other drivers. Pine trees and all that good stuff,” Marley said.

Marley often tells audiences, “Without you, I’d just be this lunatic standing in the middle of Hannaford’s produce section muttering stuff.”

Now entering his 21st year in show business, Marley said what has sustained him is writing.

“I’ve been to the Palace probably 15 times, and every time I go, I change my act. So if people come see me next week, they’ll see a different set from last time they saw me.”

Marley is constantly writing, with some 26 albums under his belt.

“I’ve developed that muscle because when I first started out, I would play the same places over and over again, and I didn’t want to repeat my material,” he said. “I realized quickly I had to write some new stuff. So now, it’s easy for me to come up with new stuff. I can memorize it quickly, and I know who I am on stage, so it’s easy to write.”

Ultimately, Marley likens comedy to a magic trick.

“You’ll go once and say, ‘That was great.’ The second time, you bring your friends and say, ‘See?’ But if you go a third time, and it’s the same old trick, they’ve lost you. People want to be tricked again, but with newer tricks. Not the same old hat.”

The Palace Theatre is at 80 Hanover St., Manchester. Showtimes are 8 p.m. Friday, April 20, and 7 and 9 p.m. Saturday, April 21. Tickets are $27.50 and can be purchased by calling 668-5588 or visiting www.palacetheatre.org.