SPOTLIGHT ON… Steven Fischman – From “Open Wide” to Open Mic

Dr. Steven Fischman

Dr. Steven Fischman

By Alex Gerber

Residents of West Hartford and its surrounding area may know of Dr. Steven Fischman as one of the town’s premiere orthodontists, straightening things out at Fischman Orthodontics in West Hartford Center. Recently, however, he’s been perfecting other ways to make people smile.

About five years ago, Fischman began taking classes in comedy at West Hartford’s Playhouse on Park, and later at CT Improv in Hartford. Now, he’s preparing for to take to the stage at Hartford Funny Bone in Manchester, where he will compete with 10 other budding comedians in an evening billed as “Clash of the Comics.”

“Comedy is something I’ve always wanted to do,” says Fischman, who was raised in a Reform Jewish home in Orange. “I never had the background in performing, aside from plays in elementary school, but it’s always been an interest of mine.”

When CT Improv started holding events for stand-up comedy, Fischman was hooked.

“They organized this event where they had about 15 or more people doing stand-up for the first time. I only went to watch people perform, but they had held another stand-up event this past May that I participated in. Since then, I’ve been attending open mics at various places to get some practice with performing.”

At “Clash of Comics” each contestant will be alloted five minutes to convince the audience that they’re the funniest thing since Mel Brooks or Tina Fey or Donald Trump. depending on what floats your funny bone. Winners will be based on audience response, in a room that seats upwards of 150 people.

How does Fischman plan to get the audience laughing? He reminds us of his dental credentials.

“I could figure out a way to filter laughing gas through the air vents — but I don’t know how well that would work,” he says kiddingly (we think).

Instead, Fischman plans to take a more mainstream approach. Toward that end, he has prepared a routine which, he reveals, is heavy on the puns.

“I like to use a lot of play on words. That’s a style that I tend to gravitate to. And I prefer the clean approach as opposed to being on the raunchy side,” he tells the Ledger.

How does he assess his chances of winning?

“I always go in with the approach that I want to win, and I’ll certainly give it my best shot. Beyond that, I think anything can happen. It really depends on the audience. I’ve had crowds that responded very well to my whole entire act, but I’ve also had audiences where the response wasn’t very strong,” he says.

Beyond that, he surmises, the contest’s outcome is likely to be based, at least in part, on how many supporters one has brought to the show.

“Contestants that have the most people backing them tend to be the ones that do well,” he says. “It’s somewhat biased, I suppose. I think the competition is going to be pretty intense.”

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