New Britain Herald, 07/16/2008
Encore! Comedians return to treat at Trinity
By RICK GUINNESS , Herald staff
Jay Sutay performs in New York. He brings his medical comedy to New Britain Friday.
NEW BRITAIN – On Friday comedians Rich Vos, Bonnie McFarlane and Jay Sutay perform the second night of their run at the Trinity-on-Main performance center. Vos and McFarlane’s first night was about a year ago. Sutay came on a bit after – in April.
The married headliners, last in town for a June 29, 2007, show, are best known for their work on television. Vos has had two specials on Comedy Central; McFarlane had her own HBO special.
Compared to them, Sutay, the opening act Friday and a finalist in spring’s “Funniest Comic in Connecticut” competition, is new on the scene – unless you count the brief stint the South Windsor man had as a stand-up comedian in the early 1980’s before going to medical school.
That’s right. He’s a doctor.
Maybe you’ve heard of him. He’s the pediatrician who hates kids!
At least, that’s the act.
In real life, he loves kids – even has a couple of his own and coaches Little League.
His side job center stage started when he was going to Fairfield University in the early 1980s and promoter Brad Axelrod opened a club in the area. “I used to come with my buddies,” Sutay said, and enjoyed it so much he decided to try comedy himself, putting his first year of medical school on hold to see if stand-up was his best bet.
“Back in the ’80s I hadn’t experienced enough to have my own unique material,” he said. During a meeting with Jay Leno, he said, “Leno persuaded me to go to medical school.”
Now, having completed his schooling and become a doctor, he can’t quit his day job. Without his patients, he said, “I wouldn’t have any material.”
Max Dolcelli, his lifelong friend and a professional comic, persuaded him to get back into comedy in the summer of 2006, and he has since done more than 100 shows. (Many have been in Connecticut, with Axelrod once again the producer.) Practicing medicine has given him an immense amount of unique material.
“Not many people will go through four years of college, four years of medical school, three years of pediatric residency and 15 years of practice just to come up with material,” Sutay said proudly.
The last time he was in New Britain to appear at Trinity-on-Main, he talked about how he was kicked in the groin by kids while trying to check their ears, nose, throat or eyes.
“It happens all the time,” he said. “You almost need to wear a cup in this business.”
He has an aversion to protective equipment, however.
“Body armor is messing with survival of the fittest and natural selection,” he said. “The fathers who grew up with bike helmets probably would [otherwise] have died flying over the handlebars, and would not have passed their soft-shelled genes on to their offspring.
“We keep protecting our kids the way we are, and in 100 years they won’t be able to run outside without fear that a raindrop will knock them unconscious,” he added.
All jokes aside, he believes being too protective, book smart and worrying about everything takes a lot of fun away from being a parent.
He tries to follow his own advice, but his daughter tests him on a daily basis.
“My daughter has a boyfriend who I had taken care of since he was 2,” Sutay said. “She says she knows him better than I do. I said, ‘God I hope not.'”
Being a physician goes beyond dealing with runny noses and sore throats.
A woman with an 8-year-old boy walked into his office and said she was concerned he was spending too much time playing with Barbie’s Dreamhouse. “I wondered what an 8-year-old only child was doing with a Barbie Dreamhouse to begin with – unless the kid is planning to douse it with gasoline and use it as a staging area for his rescue heroes,” he joked.
Sutay has hosted for Vos and McFarlane before – becoming so nervous that he called her Barbara instead of Bonnie. The pair said they remembered the glitch, but thought Sutay was funny. “He can open for us anytime,” Vos said, and predicted another good night at Trinity-on-Main.
Vos said he is looking forward to coming back to New Britain. “We didn’t do a tour of the city the last time. It isn’t like it was Vegas,” he said. “But it was a lot of fun.”
Tickets for the show are $19.50 in advance $22 at the door. Doors at Trinity-on-Main, 69 Main St., open at 7:30 p.m., with the comedy starting an hour later. There will be a cash bar and refreshments available.
Free parking is available at the Sgt. H.J. Szczesny garage, on Chestnut Street across from the performance center.
For information, call (860) 229-2072 or go to trinityonmain.org or treehousecomedy.com.
Rick Guinness can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (860) 225-4601, ext. 236.