PORTLAND, Maine — About seven years ago, Steve Underwood, the co-founder of Good Theater in Portland and a member of the comedy trio known as the Maine Hysterical Society, came up with an idea for a humorous song on how to talk with a Down East accent. He wrote some lyrics, thinking it was something the Hysterical Society could do in its live shows.
What he’d created, though, turned out to be ill-suited for the trio’s loose, free-wheeling approach.
“We did it once,” he recalled with a laugh. “It was way too ambitious to do live on stage.”
But the song stuck with him, and during the pandemic, as Underwood tweaked and polished the lyrics, he realized it would work better in a different format.
"It ended up being a music video with about 25 actors from Maine,” he said, “in sequences shot all over Maine.”
The result, “Now You’re Talkin’ Down East,” taps into a rich vein of Maine humor that runs from “Bert and I” to Tim Sample to Bob Marley. It pokes fun at the way Mainers talk, and it works because it’s actual Mainers who are doing the ribbing—“with a lot of love,” as Underwood notes.
“Now You’re Talkin’ Down East” will be presented Sunday, April 24, in Portland at Good Theater’s “Back to Good Times” show featuring comedy shorts, ad parodies, and other music videos.
“Who needs comedy in harrowing times?” Good Theater asks before answering its own question: “We ALL do!”