SPOTLIGHT: Keepin’ it fresh with Ethan Marsh

8662545680_5a574db3c6_hEthan Marsh is a man who likes to keep things fresh. A long-time regular at local shows like Horse’s Mouth and Jim Rodney’s Medicine Show at Middlesex Lounge, the JP-based stand-up comic says it was the prolific creativity of his friends in the Boston scene that inspired him to spearhead his own show.

“I was inspired by how much they were writing,” says Marsh. “They were coming up with new stuff each month. And I wanted to be on that clip.”

So at the end of 2012, Marsh began hosting the Castle of Comedy, a monthly revue of local comics at the Center for Arts at the Armory. The impact on his creative process has been considerable.

“Before I had the show,” he says, “I’d just randomly pull stuff out of the air… I’d pick a date – like if I had a show in a month in the Comedy Studio, I’d be like ‘OK, I have to have something new ready by then.’ And I’d stress out about it. But now I try and just pick a theme and say, ‘Oh, I should write something about that.’ I don’t stress myself out about it. I just keep it in mind and then out of nowhere, it starts coming. To me, the most important thing that’s changed in the past year is not stressing myself out and focusing on it as like play, like I’m just having fun, checking out ideas and figuring out which ideas fit together.”

Ever since he was a kid, comedy has been Marsh’s first love. More importantly, he enjoys the challenge of “how to connect with an audience and winning someone over with an idea that you had. To me, it’s just incredible that that even works. The first time I did it, when I was able to take something that I’d worked on and felt someone connect with it, that’s when I was like, ‘Alright, this is what I’m into!’ It’s a great rush and I was just hooked from then on.”

Since becoming a host as well as a comic, though, Marsh has come to realize that connecting with an audience is about much more than just telling good jokes. “The most important thing,” he says, is “just being a friendly, fun guy. That’s what you have to do in hosting and I think that’s one of my strong suits – that I can be in front of whatever crowd and people know from the first second that I’m not going to be an aggressive, tough-guy comic. What I try to do every time I step on stage is send out this warm vibe of ‘We’re here to have fun. Let’s not take this so seriously.’”

Check out the next Castle of Comedy 8:30 p.m. Thursday, May 16 at the Center for Arts at the Armory, 191 Highland Ave. –Nick Cox