Weekender

Comedian aims for family-friendly laughs in State College

Billy Kelly will perform Friday at Webster’s Bookstore Cafe in State College.
Billy Kelly will perform Friday at Webster’s Bookstore Cafe in State College. Photo provided

Comedian Billy Kelly will bring his family-friendly comedy stylings to Webster’s Bookstore Cafe on Oct. 21.

Kelly was a fan of comedy from a young age and believes that no one should take things too seriously.

“I grew up around very funny people,” Kelly said. “My dad in particular loves to tell jokes, so the whole ‘setup and punchline’ format was a familiar theme of my upbringing. There is also a pervading sense of ‘don’t take things too seriously’ running through family, and it really stuck with me.”

The funny man’s upcoming show at Webster’s is a bit of wish fulfillment for him and his family.

“My family and I live in Lewisburg and we often come up to State College for a day in ‘the big city,’ ” Kelly said. “I’ve wanted to do a show (at Webster’s) since the first time I saw the place. Plus, comedy shows in bookstores are totally a thing now. All the cool kids are doing the bookstore comedy shows.”

Kelly said his “squeaky clean” comedy show is about more than not swearing on stage — it’s about focusing on things that adults and kids can laugh at together.

“I avoid subject matter that would bore or confuse part of the audience. So there are no jokes about work or dating or spelling tests,” he said. “I really try to find common experiences that everyone in the audience can relate to.”

Beyond entertaining local crowds, Kelly has received prestigious award nominations, including a Grammy Award nomination for the children’s album, “Trees,” with Molly Ledford.

“The nomination came about thanks to some great press for the record and a lot of word-of-mouth publicity,” Kelly said. “Molly and I went to the Grammys, walked the red carpet and went to fancy parties — all of which was pretty amazing.”

Kelly said what’s next for him is more family comedy shows, which are something he’d like to see more of, overall.

“Entertainment has become totally compartmentalized into ‘these shows are just for adults’ and ‘these shows are just for kids,’ ” he said. “I think there is room for shows that kids and adults can enjoy together.”

The comedian believes that comedy is intrinsically important to the human experience.

“The world is kind of nuts and lots of people are mad,” Kelly said. “I think it is a beautiful thing to see total strangers come together in one place for the sole purpose of laughing.”

IF YOU GO

  • What: Comedy Show with Billy Kelly
  • When: 8-9 p.m. Oct. 21
  • Where: Webster’s Bookstore Cafe, 133 E. Beaver Ave., State College
  • Info: www.webstersbooksandcafe.com
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