Boston takes a beating in popular culture. More often than not, it’s portrayed as an insular, sports-obsessed city whose all-white residents say dumb things like “wicked pissah.” There’s an element of truth in most cliches, of course, but come on.
Sometimes, though, the stereotype can be endearing. Case in point is comedian Julia Claire’s tweet imagining Marty Walsh’s remarks on his first day as US labor secretary. Claire, who grew up in Medfield, gets the accent right in her video impersonation of Boston’s mayor, but it’s the words she puts in Walsh’s mouth that make her caricature of hizzoner funny.
Introducing fictional chief of staff Joey O’Connell, Claire says, “Some of you may already know Joey as the former head of the pipefitters union. He’s also my bookie. ... Don’t be too hard on him, he’s a good kid. He’s only 48.”
There’s more, including Walsh’s announcement of a new “depahtment-wide no-scabs policy,” violations of which will result in a unique punishment involving shotgunning Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (regular) followed by Sam Adams beer.
When she’s not busy poking fun at Mahty Walsh, Claire hosts, with comedian Kate Willett, the podcast “Reply Guys,” a feminist political comedy podcast “brought to you by two nice ladies doing socialism.” On a recent episode, Claire chatted with Senator Ed Markey, so it’s clear her interest in Massachusetts politics isn’t just for laughs.
Reached in New York Monday, Claire said she copped the thick Boston accent from her dad, who grew up in Brookline.
“Someone said it sounds like a townie who went to college,” she said, laughing.
Claire’s not sure if Walsh has seen the bit, but one of his staffers did and gave it a thumbs-up. “They said my fatal flaw was I should have started with, ‘Hi, how ah ya?’”
Even before President Biden nominated Boston’s mayor to head the Department of Labor, Walsh had been gaining a national profile, thanks in part to his starring role in director Frederick Wiseman’s new 4½-hour documentary, “City Hall.”
Claire said she has nothing but respect for Boston’s mayor and thinks he’ll be a great labor secretary.
“Absolutely,” she said. “I say fill as many positions of the Cabinet with members of the Greater Boston labor community as possible.”