— For Montgomery County native Craig Shoemaker, the ability to deliver a smile has given him a durable comedy career.
When Craig Shoemaker’s father left home, the little boy was raised in an all-female household that included his mother, grandmother and several aunts.
“Obviously they weren’t there for protection, although I used to think the tampons I found were sticks of dynamite,” said Shoemaker, who grew up to become an award-winning comic who will take the stage at Sellersville Theater 1894 on Saturday, May 12. “I used to think because my mom was so poor all she could afford were duds.”
But it was a happy, if totally estrogen-filled home, said Shoemaker, who explained that they all used to bond by sitting around watching sitcoms on TV.
“There was All in the Family, the Mary Tyler Moore Show, Bob Newhart and others,” Shoemaker explained. “I also used to try to entertain them by doing my little Batman dance or whatever else I could think of. To me, hearing them laugh was the best medicine possible, certainly better than Bactine, which stung like crazy.”
And as he grew, so did his desire to make everyone around him laugh. Raised in Springfield, Montgomery County and a graduate of Springfield High School, Shoemaker, now 53, began his television and film career in Philadelphia in the 1980s.
His first onstage performance took place at a bar between the sets of his co-worker’s music act. When he described the experience, he said, “Somebody laughed and I was hooked.”
He performed characters for local television shows, and won two national Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Emmy Awards for video shorts that he wrote, produced and starred in.
“In the early days my specialty was doing impressions,” he said. “That’s one of the reasons The Lovemaster was born.”
The second reason was because Shoemaker kept striking out with the girls. With his Barry White-type voice, Shoemaker said The Lovemaster, his alter ego, was born out of necessity.
“When I was in high school I was kind of geeky,” he explained, “and all the girls would use the F word me with — Friend, that is. That’s how they saw me. They used to turn me down for dates and always talk about the ‘bad guys’ they were attracted to. So I became what I thought they were telling me they wanted. And that’s how The Lovemaster eventually was born.”
And Shoemaker said he can’t do a performance without the “arch-seducer showing up. He’s that sexual lothario that women say they don’t want, but there’s certainly some part of them that sure does. He’s that sexual beast that lies within us and continues to come out now and then. But I can’t complain. He’s been very, very good to me.”
Now a veteran of the comedy scene, Shoemaker feels his calling is to bring comedy to the world. He said he’s now in the process of finalizing papers with other groups that will combine to raise the awareness of the powers of laughter.
Named Best Comedian/Impressionist in Philadelphia and Comedian of the Year at the American Comedy Awards, and the recipient of many other awards, Shoemaker is the proud father of three sons.
“Because I didn’t have a good and attentive father, I think I’ve upped the level on that one,” he said. “My whole goal is to raise them well so that when they go into therapy I’m not the lead story. I didn’t get parents who could tell me they loved me, and I know my kids will never have that longing. They may have other issues but not that one. They won’t have that hole in their soul.” ••
For show times and ticket information, call 215-257-5808.