Thursday, July 6, 2017

Mike Stanley Wants to Make You Laugh

Detroit has always been known for our music and over the last few years we have become a major player in the art world, but did you know that we are also have our own growing comedy scene? Detroit has a growing comedy scene in the city, we even have a few comedians that have started to make a name for Detroit on the national level,  one of those comedians is Mike Stanley.

A quick google search of Mike will get you laughing in no time. There are a tons of videos on the internet that you can watch and he has a comedy album called Shiner that you can download here. Mike was a part of the Detroit comedy scene before he started regularly touring on a national level. He will be returning to Detroit to perform this weekend, so we reached out to learn more about the local and national comedy scene as well as his personal journey with comedy. Check out our interview with him and head over here to purchase a pair of tickets to see him perform live at The Magic Bag this Saturday, July 8th! Tickets are only $10 in advance, which makes this the perfect place to take a date this weekend! 

HID- How old were you when you started doing standup?
Mike Stanley- "Well, the first time I did stand up I was 11 in Jr. High at our school's talent show. I've always loved it and it was something that was always prevalent in our house growing up. I did a bunch of Steven Wright jokes. What a hack, right!? I should have tapped into my life experiences of drawing Batman and hoping to find discarded porn mags in public parks. I've always wrote but didn't really begin performing until around 03' or 04'."

HID- What was your first gig?
Mike Stanley- "I'm pretty sure my first paid gig was in Canada. Another more established comedian took me there to open for him and they began booking me regularly. I remember being really excited about the pay then coming back across the border and realizing that I didn't really make that much because the exchange rate was different back then, American currency was worth a lot more."

HID- How do you write your material? Do you write it throughout the day or block off a time to write?
Mike Stanley- "Both. I'm constantly driving or flying so the act of actually sitting down to write has to wait until I'm in a hotel for a few days. I usually start with the punchline (the thing I find most absurd/funny) scribble it down, then build the story around it. I like all the different forms stand up. Long form, storytelling, quick fast set-up-punchline twist, one liners, so depending on how in depth the subject matter is, it's directly related to the amount of time I have to spend on the joke to convey the message to the audience properly and make it funny. After SHINER came out (my latest album) I wanted to switch up my style a bit and see how many quick jokes I could hammer out on stage in a short period of time. I like trying new things and riffing on stage too. I'm not a big fan of crowd work. But riffing and adding tags to jokes while on stage helps keep me in the moment."

HID- How do you get over stage fright?
Mike Stanley- "I don't often get stage fright. There's a bit of anxiousness, the wanting to get up and the first laugh out of the way, but I wouldn't say it's fear. I do a lot of pacing before shows. I probably look like a maniac. Hahaha."

HID- Is performing stand up in Detroit different than others cities? How?
Mike Stanley- "It's not really anymore. Surrounding areas, yeah. Detroit itself is dope as fuck now so the shows and crowds (specifically people that come to see me) are open minded and already know what they're getting into. It's when you start getting into the bullshit garbage Trump supporting areas where everyone has a problem. That's a Midwest thing though. It's not exclusive to MI."

HID- Who are your comedy heroes and why?
Mike Stanley- "Well, George Carlin has been and always will be my favorite comedian. I don't know that there's ever been a more important or visceral performer.

Compartmentally, yeah he will have an incredibly well written/delivered piece where he's attacking specific issues, but when all added up it's more of an overview of the trivial social constructs we, as humans have created for ourselves. Religion, Banks, Politicians, Weapons, Racism - All of these things are ingrained into american culture and used for leverage with such reckless abandonment. Carlin had a way of saying "Who the fuck are we? Why are tap dancing around this shit and lying to ourselves? Quit being a fucking idiot!" He would have these brilliant, long form diatribes about politics then a minute later tell the funniest fart joke you've ever heard. There's something to be said about being hilarious enough to deliver on that spectrum.

He would be losing his shit with what's going on today with "President Toupee Fiasco."

I've been lucky enough to do shows with a lot of the comics I've looked up to. Robin Williams, Dave Attell, Jim Jeffries, Chappelle."

HID- Where can we go to find cool comedy around Detroit?
Mike Stanley- "Go to Detroit Comedy Underground on Sundays at the Park Bar. That's the show I started with Billy Zakolski (Motor City Improv) and it's been running for 2 years now. It's really great and I'm really proud of what we've done there. We get comics from all over, New York, LA, Chicago, Down south as well as the best local talent. Channel 4 votes it the best place to see stand up and I'm really proud of what we've accomplished here. It's $7 and doors are at 7:30. We get Comedy Central acts regularly. People that have done sets on Late Night shows. You seriously can't beat it. It's a blast."

HID- Are there any other local comedians we should be paying attention to?
Mike Stanley- "Absolutely. The scene has grown so much over the past two years it's crazy. Bret Hayden, Kyle Forsyth, Blain Hill, Brett Mercer, Ken Witzgall, Heather Jay these are all of the comics that help produce DCU and they're all incredibly funny.

Other favorites are Dave Landau, Laura Witkowski, Melanie Hearn, Josh Adams, Will Green, Robert Jenkins, Pat Seivert, Taylor De La Ossa, Mark Roebuck and Dan Currie, Adam Degi and Wes Ward. These comics are all over Michigan but are regular staples in our room. Check them out and book them on everything!"


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