ALBANY — Erin Harkes is a woman on the edge.
The busiest local in show business is anxious. She has long said that music is her spouse and comedy is her mistress. Well, she’s since gotten married — for real — and her side chick has her worried.
The jitters are evident as she speaks on the phone on a return trip up the Thruway from New York City. She quit her day job years ago to perform in front of live audiences, either as a comedian or musician. Either one draws enough income as she hits stages on the regular. The calendar on her website has her performing on a near-daily basis. But preparing for a vacation with her husband is causing her stress.
“Oh, if you knew what I had to do today,” she said, followed by a curse word. She does that. If you didn’t know, you haven’t paid attention. Nonetheless, the vocabulary enhancer is warranted. She was compelled to drive to the city to pick up her passport. She’d ordered it weeks ago to reflect her married name. She had given herself time, but when she looked at the website the day before, it wasn’t processed. Her trip’s in just a few days. Flash forward 24 hours and 150 miles later, the passport is waiting on her front porch.
“It’s getting delivered to my house as we speak,” she said, as she drives passed the Poughkeepsie exit.
Life just has a way of not cooperating. Don’t be sad. That’s not always the case.
Harkes pretty much has always been a performer. Her spontaneity and willingness to take the stage earned her a spot on “Battle of the Instant Bands” on the Jimmy Fallon show in 2010. She tackled the pressure of having only 20 minutes to prepare an impromptu act with a band of strangers and won Fallon and the studio audience over. Her “Fallon Angels” performed “Free Jimmy” with her signing vocals. They won the contest.
After years of being told she was funny, she tried standup comedy in 2012. She found comfort in front of an audience and she achieved success in a short time, performing in nearly every major club in New York City, Toronto and Montreal. She has worked with Jeff Dye, Demetri Martin and In Living Color’s Tommy Davidson. She has since been voted in as either the best singer, songwriter, musician or comedian by all the area papers that prepare such lists. (We don’t.)
But Harkes is now stressing over 600 tickets. She practically lives at the Albany Funny Bone where she produces her all-female comedy series “Women on the Stage.” She recently announced the live recording of her upcoming comedy album and live special from the same stage for YouTube. She’s got tickets to sell to fill the room.
“It’s a huge undertaking because it is an enormous theater and I’m doing two shows back to back. And so I’ve got about 600 tickets to sell,” she said. With vacation looming overhead, she’s cramming to promote the show. After this phone call, she has another interview with Two Buttons Deep.
“I’m gonna work hard. It’s gonna get all of my attention. I mean, that’s why my husband knows I’m gonna have to do some work while we’re down there,” Harkes said. “I started making reels. I have to make more content. I say that with a mouthful of puke because I realized how terrible it sounds. But that’s the nature of the beast.”
The upcoming album is a follow-up to “Zoloft + Probation,” her 2021 debut album released on Toronto-based label Howl and Roar Records. It was picked up by several stations on Sirius XM and continues to play in rotation. The album has also done well on streaming platforms such as Spotify and iTunes.
This second album will also be released on Howl and Roar later this year. In addition, the special will be taped to be released on YouTube later this year.
The special will feature Jaye McBride (who recently wrapped up a tour with Amy Schumer) and local favorite Jennifer McMullen as the host and emcee for the evening.
They will be at the Albany Funny Bone on Wednesday, March 29, doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $10. Tickets are available at erinharkes.com.