Comedian John Poveromo Crafts Most of His Jokes on Stage

Raised in Toms River, Poveromo says Jersey’s fast-paced, no-frills way of life informs his artistic approach.

Courtesy of Peter Carter

For John Poveromo, every show is different. The comedian is likely to change his set on the spot based on the crowd and whatever is on his mind.

Born in Brooklyn and raised in Toms River, Poveromo says the fast-paced nature of Jersey living inspires his on-the-fly style. “You get a thicker skin being raised in New Jersey,” says Poveromo. “You’re able to take more and give more just by being around people who don’t have time for small talk.”

Poveromo rarely sits down to write a joke or an act, though he enters notes on his phone, capturing daily observations and thoughts that may work in his set. The spontaneity of his process is what excites him most about comedy.

Since childhood, Poveromo has enjoyed making strangers laugh. He has written comedy for shows on HBO and VH1, as well as his own book, Drawings From a Nobody, which features his comic-strip style drawings of scenes from everyday life. (He is working on a sequel.)

Whether working live or drawing scenes for a book, Poveromo says crafting a joke is much the same. “When you are a comedian and you’re on stage,” he says, “you’re basically trying to paint a picture with words.”

Poveromo will paint his comic pictures June 12 at the Hopewell Theater in Mercer County. He’d like his audience to relax. “I hope whatever they were worried about when they came into my show [is] gone the entire time,” he says, adding with a laugh, “I hope it comes right back after they leave.”

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