Jan 26, 2024 - Things to Do

Josh Gondelman's guide to Boston comedy, roast beef and not being a Masshole

Photo: Lloyd Bishop/NBCUniversal via Getty Images

Comedian Josh Gondelman has carved out a niche in the world of stand-up as the king of the nice guys, a genuine and big-hearted millennial who's also hilarious.

  • He'll play two shows at Off Cabot in Beverley Friday and Saturday.
  • The Stoneham native talked to Axios recently about how to see good comedy in Boston, which taco places he visits when he's home and how he grew up here without becoming a jaded Masshole.

The interview has been edited for brevity.

Are people from around the country shocked that you grew up in the Boston suburbs but don't act or talk like Bill Burr?

People definitely do not guess that I'm from Massachusetts. People almost always assume I'm from the Midwest or Canada until I start talking about the Celtics.

  • People associate the Boston area with a very Wahlbergian machismo, and they tend not to give as much notice to other folks who have come from here with different vibes.
  • I'm such a homer at heart and will always be rooting for Gary Gulman and Ayo Edebiri and Kay Hanley and Rachel Dratch (etc. etc.)!

You're practically the opposite of the Masshole stereotype. How did you end up so nice?

I have really nice parents! And I also lucked out being kind of a soft, goofy kid who no one ever bullied enough to turn me into The Joker.

  • Also not to "as a Jew" you, but as a Jew, I kind of definitionally didn't fit the Massachusetts stereotype to start off with.

If people want to see good comedy in Boston, where should they go/what should they do?

This is such a boring answer, but do your homework. Yes, I am a comedian assigning homework to your readers. I might be the dullest man alive.

  • But what I mean is, with so many outlets for comedians to share material online and such a breadth of local venues from Laugh Boston to the Wilbur to the Cantab, you can definitely find comedy that suits your taste.

Favorite place to eat in Stoneham (or surrounding area)?

I have gotten a little out of the loop on hometown restaurants, but I will say The Stones was very accommodating of the recent Stoneham High School reunion.

  • And I always try to make time for a run to Anna's Taqueria when I'm back in town.
  • And obviously I frequent the local Dunkin' locations when I'm home, for authenticity's sake.

On North Shore roast beef:

I keep threatening to do a comprehensive survey of North Shore Roast Beef spots, but I never make the time for it, and then if I ever do it, I think it would really cut down the time I have left on this planet.

Any go-to news sources?

You know, I'm a big newsletter reader! I really like the way outlets like Discourse Blog, Defector, Hamilton Nolan's newsletter How Things Work, and Parker Molloy's The Present Age analyze current events.

Are you reading a book at the moment? What's the last good book you read?

I just finished Holly Gramazio's upcoming novel "The Husbands" which is extremely charming and inventive and a breeze to read, which is the kind of book I think people are always looking for.

What music is on rotation?

Lately I keep coming back to the 2023 albums by Jeff Rosenstock, Worriers, and Speedy Ortiz! And I've mostly given up my old CD collection, so I'm extraordinarily glad that De La Soul's music is streaming now!

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