A Mother Lode of Laughs

By Beacon Staff

At her upcoming show in Whitefish, comic Margaret Smith plans on drawing from the amply crazy experiences that only parenthood can provide. But don’t expect any lazy “yo mama” jokes; Smith’s craft is seriously and professionally funny.

Smith, a nationally awarded comic, writer, producer and actor, will perform at the Crush Wine Bar in Whitefish on May 10.

Smith’s writing skills and acerbic wit have landed her some pretty sweet gigs in the past. She was a writer and producer for the Ellen Degeneres Show several years ago, has performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and The Late Show with David Letterman, worked with comics from Phyllis Diller to Bob Hope and toured internationally.

As for awards, Smith is a six-time Emmy award winner and also received the American Comedy Award for Best Female Stand Up Comedian.

Despite her national credentials, Smith is no stranger to the Flathead. About 20 years ago, she decided to vacation here in an attempt to connect with her family’s roots (Smith says the base of her family tree has Blackfeet heritage).

While staying with a friend in the Swan, Smith found out there was a parcel of land for sale; 8.5 acres on the edge of forest land and on Swan Lake. She met the owner, worked out a deal and left a landowner.

The work to build her house on the property didn’t begin until several years ago, she said. The structure is a radius-roof barn she had taken down in Minnesota and shipped here.

Spending summers up here, Smith said she’s continually surprised by the breadth of personality and experience the valley residents can offer.

“The Flathead Valley is a very eclectic group. I’ve met people who, you know, when a big fly lands on them they don’t even move and they don’t even notice it,” Smith said, laughing. “And then I’ve run into Connie Chung at the Bigfork Arts Festival. You know, it’s like, what a span, what a spreadsheet.”

Smith hopes to have a variety of Flathead residents and tourists at her show, which she said would run for 50 minutes “unless I’m having a good time, then it will go longer.”

Her delivery is dry and direct, with an easy rhythm complemented by the slight accent that comes from growing up in Chicago. Smith said her material isn’t “blue” or political, but rather takes on the funny mundanities of everyday life.

Since her show is during the week of Mother’s Day, her target audience will be parents, Smith said. Her book, “What Was I Thinking,” is about becoming a single mother and all the hilarity and poignancy that comes with it. Most of her material will draw on this facet of her life, she said.

The book isn’t just for people considering becoming parents, she said. It’s meant to make people laugh in a different way than they would at a stand-up show.

“The idea of making people laugh without actually having to be there, there’s an intimacy about it that was very appealing to me,” Smith said.

She’s still writing and developing projects, but Smith knew it was time to get back on the stage. She loves performing, but can’t stand traveling. So Smith came up with a personal mantra for when she has to get on an airplane for a tour.

“They are paying me to leave my house,” she said. “I’m doing the show for free.”

The show starts at 8:30 p.m. and will go as long as Smith keeps flowing. But if it’s anything like her recent interview with the Beacon, the audience will be laughing from beginning to end.

“I think you should come if you want to laugh,” Smith said. “I hope a lot of moms come, and parents in general.”

Margaret Smith will perform at the Crush Wine Bar in Whitefish on May 10. For tickets, call Crush Wine Bar at 406-730-1030. Tickets are $30 in advance, $38 at the door. Seating is limited to 60.

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