Milford High grad Grynkiewicz takes comedy seriously

When you think about it, standup comedy and teaching aren’t really all that different.

Just ask Missy Grynkiewicz.

“Teachers work a room all day. They aren’t terrified that the people they are talking to may or may not be paying attention. We’re used to that. When you’re a teacher, you don’t have the room’s full focus every minute of every day.

Missy Grynkiewicz

Missy Grynkiewicz

It’s a pretty natural progression,” Ms. Grynkiewicz said.

She should know.

By day, the Middletown resident and 1985 Milford High graduate is a sixth- and eighth-grade language arts teacher and eighth-grade adviser at St. Anne’s Episcopal School in Middletown.

By night, she’s a standup comedian, working clubs throughout New York City, Washington and New Jersey.

She also has recorded a comedy album “Miss Representation,” which made the first round of cuts for Grammy consideration, written a book and has an independent action-thriller film coming out in the summer called
“Days of Power,” with Eric Roberts.

She’ll be doing some rare dates in her home state over the next week, hosting the LOL comedy competition at the Grand Opera House’s Baby Grand in Wilmington tonight and then appearing at Middetown’s Two Nine Nine Old School Grill on March 28.

Born in Salisbury, Maryland, and moving to Milford when she was 10 years old, Ms. Grynkiewicz acted and sang through school but then abandoned the stage to become a teacher.

Always known as the “funny teacher,” she was approached a few years ago to do some shows at Middletown’s Premier Center for the Arts, where she eventually acted and directed productions.

Her natural humor got her an opening gig for another comedian locally and then a chance to do her own standup show at the Premier Center, where she performed an astounding 90 minutes of comedy.

“I didn’t know enough to be scared,” she said. “I just told stories about growing up and my life and luckily people laughed.”

That has led to her doing shorter sets around the region for about the last year and a half, where she talks about topics such as marriage, motherhood, breast-feeding and her family, which includes a teenage daughter and teenage stepdaughter.

On stage, she worries that they will never leave the house and jokes that she welcomes her long drives to the clubs because it affords her a chance to get away from the madness of her everyday life.

“The whole standup thing has came naturally to me. I love it when people come up to me after a show and say ‘that happened to me too.’ ” Ms. Grynkiewicz said.

“It’s those common experiences that people don’t really talk about. There’s really something almost healing about it. I don’t want to sound hokey but you develop this connection with people whether they are twentysomethings or eightysomethings.

“It’s like talking to your best friend without ever having to say anything back.”

Those frank topics can make for a pretty adult routine at times. Both Delaware shows are recommended for mature audiences.

“I can work clean but I have the most fun with R-rated material. It comes quicker to me. I don’t know what that says about me,” she said with a laugh.

“But I’ll never do anything that makes people feel less than. I’ll never make fun of a population that I’m not a part of.

That’s where I’ll draw the line. Don’t ask me to do any racist stuff or anything that puts down other people.”

Her busy standup career has her always on the go. Just this week, she played a Wednesday night show in New York City and then it was back to school the next morning.

“I think I’m more sleep-deprived than in the first year after I had my daughter,” she said.

“But if you’re doing what you feel like you’re supposed to be doing at this point in your life, it’s all worth it and you do whatever you can do to make it work.”

She counts among her influences Ellen DeGeneres, Jim Gaffigan and Paula Poundstone and hopes to one day have careers like them.

“My dream is to just be a working comic and not have to worry about where the next gig is coming from. I don’t need to be a household name. I would just love to be a comedian that other comedians want to work with,” she said.

And does she see herself ever quitting the teaching profession to focus full-time on comedy?

“I’ll go really wherever the universe takes me. Everyone at my school has been so supportive of me. I can always see myself working with kids in some capacity. That’s for sure,” she said.

Tonight will be the fourth annual LOL comedy competition. Ms. Grynkiewicz won last year’s event. Tickets are $10 and can be obtained by visiting www.thegrandwilmington.org.

Tickets for the 8 p.m. show at Two Nine Nine can be obtained by stopping by the restaurant at 380 E. Main St., or calling (302) 376-9800

For more on Ms. Grynkiewicz, including details on her forthcoming CD “Fifty Shades of Earth Day,” visit www.missygrynkiewicz.com.

Parmalee in Harrington

Saturday at Harrington Raceway and Casino’s Exhibit Hall will see a performance by the country band Parmalee, as part of the On Stage-Harrington lineup of shows.

With its latest single, “Close Your Eyes” reaching No. 13 in 2014 on the Country Billboard charts, Parmalee has broken out as one of the latest hot groups on the country music scene. Its latest album “Feels Like Carolina” has garnered critical acclaim following up on its hit “Carolina” which was released in 2013 and reached No. 1 on the Country Airplay chart in December of that year.

Its country rock sound stems from roots in bluegrass, traditional country, Southern rock and blues. Although the group’s first EP, “Daylight,” was not a commercial success, it garnered Parmalee the attention of a producer from RCA. Two other albums would follow the debut album — “Inside” (2004), “Unplugged” (2006) and “Complicated” (2008).

In 2011, the band recorded its hit “Musta Had a Good Time” which would lead to several record deals getting the members back on a path they dreamed of from their start in that small town of Parmale, North Carolina. In June 2012, the band was featured as a Billboard “Bubbling Under” artist.

Tickets for the 8 p.m. show are $29 and can be purchased at www.harringtonraceway.com, at the Casino Gift Shop or by calling (888) 887-5687, ext. 5246.

Khan at Wesley

World-renowned Indian classical musician Shaafat Khan will perform at the Wesley College College Chapel, Division and Bradford streets, at 7 p.m. Thursday.

Maestro Khan has performed at many prestigious concert halls, festivals and universities.

This performance will include Indian classical/folk music on Sitar and Tabla, Sufi-inspired compositions, and multi-cultural fusion. Admission and parking are free. A suggested donation of $10 is suggested.

Nomination time

Nominations are being accepted through 4 p.m. May 1 for the annual Mayor’s Arts Awards and Mayor’s Youth Arts Awards.

The recipients of this award exemplify the ideal and are aimed to inspire the community through their artistic pursuits, and ensure a cultural legacy for future generations.

Recipients of Mayor’s Arts Awards and Mayor’s Youth Arts Awards are chosen by the 10-member board of the Greater Dover Arts Council and approved by the mayor. Up to three Mayor’s Arts Awards and five Youth Arts Awards will be awarded at the first Dover City Council meeting in October at City Hall.

Mayor’s Arts Awards may be given to any individual or organization whose endeavors in the arts benefit the people of Greater Dover, including individual artists and performers, teachers, instructors, mentors, schools and educational organizations, non-profits, businesses, corporations, volunteers, supporters or advocates. The Youth

Awards target high school juniors who have contributed to the Greater Dover arts scene.

For more information about both awards, email karen.demarco@lib.de.us.

Participants can pick up a brochure/nomination form at the Dover Public Library or the Office of the Mayor in Dover City Hall.

Now showing

Opening this weekend in theaters are “The Divergent Series: Insurgent 3D,” Sean Penn in the action-thriller “The Gunman” and the religious drama “Do You Believe?”

On DVD and download Tuesday are “The Hobbit” “The Battle of the Five Armies,” the Sondheim musical “Into the Woods” and the true-life tale “Unbroken.”

Reach features editor Craig Horleman at chorl@newszap.com

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