by Ryan Meehan
Michael Kosta is a former professional tennis player turned comedian turned lovemaker. Kosta regularly appears on The Tonight Show, and this year he performed in his first stand-up special, Comedy Central Presents: Michael Kosta. Michael was also chosen to host the backstage live show for the 63rd Annual Emmy Awards. He also made his Conan debut in the fall of 2011. You may also recognize Michael’s sarcastic banter from his appearances on Chelsea Lately on the E! Channel, TruTV’s Smoking Gun Presents, Yahoo!’s OMG411, and Showtime’s Live Nude Comedy. He has also hosted pilots for MTV, NBC, and Comedy Central. Kosta has performed at the HBO Comedy Festival in Aspen as well as the Just For Laughs Festival in Montreal; at the latter, he was invited to perform at a Gala where he (somehow) followed Pamela Anderson. Not just a pretty face, Michael can also be heard on the nationally syndicated Bob and Tom Radio Show and on The Playboy Comedy Channel on XM/ Sirius Satellite radio. For two seasons Michael hosted CCHA All Access on the Fox Sports Network, where he won a Michigan Emmy as a performer/host. Michael lives in Los Angeles where he hopes to soon become famous and forget all the little people. Nonetheless, for some reason he’s our guest this week in 5 questions.
FOH: How is doing comedy nothing at all like playing tennis? And could you tell us a little bit about the book you wrote called “101 Tips for Winning More Tennis Matches”?
MK: Thank you for asking that! Everyone always asks how tennis and comedy are similar, you just asked the opposite. I love you. When you play tennis for a living you go to bed at 930pm at night, and you wake up at 7am and you watch what you eat, you work out all day, you read inspiring books of athletic achievement, you dream of earning real money on tour and retiring at 32. Comedy is all those same things but the complete opposite. I try my hardest not to sleep all day when I am on the road but it happens a lot. Short answer in tennis you care deeply about your body and in comedy you don’t.
The book I wrote was actually written at a rain delay in Mexico. I was on the pro tour and I was ranked something like 800 billion in the world but I was playing really well and it was my last tournament for a few months… so I started making a list of all the things that I thought I was doing well on the court, off the court, mentally, etc. I ended up with 96 things. The publisher said they wanted 101 so I made up 5 more tips. Honestly there are five tips in that book that I don’t believe in. 3 years later it was published and I’ve made about $700 on it!
FOH: When did you first realize that you could make a living doing standup?
MK: Hmm great question. The first time I got paid it was for $25 at a bowling alley in Michigan. In between me bombing you could hear pins falling. Very fun. Once I started headlining smaller clubs I realized that I could, in theory, make a living- but a shitty living. It was at that point that I said, like a lot of comics say, well if I end up making a shitty living but I get to tell jokes to people for my life/career I’m OK with that. Each year I’ve made a little more money than the year before, hopefully it stays in that direction, but if it doesn’t I still get to do a job I love.
FOH: What is the joke writing process like for you?
MK: Terrible. How’s that for an answer? I don’t know what its like. Sometimes its disciplined and organized, other times I’m writing jokes down in a crowded bar half drunk on a napkin, other times I am in my apt walking around acting stuff out, other times I am writing completely on stage. I really wish I had a set thing that I do. I see some comics that have that and I am jealous and I hate them and I wish bad on them. All I can say about my writing process is that I prefer a computer over hand writing… I can write faster I find.
FOH: You shot a pilot with Comedy Central called “Overloaded with Michael Kosta” this past fall, which was basically a look at trending topics on Twitter. What reason did they give you for not wanting to air that show?
MK: The show was actually more my attitude towards social media. Overwhelemed, overloaded and annoyed at it. We did cover some trending topics in the top segment though. I don’t know if you’ve ever worked with Comedy Central but I am still waiting for an answer on why they didn’t air it/ buy it. Obviously it wasn’t what they were looking for , because no one bought it, but officially I didn’t get a clear answer. It would have been nice to, but they aren’t under any obligation to do so. I’m very appreciative that I even got to shoot my own show. It was so fun and its something I’m very proud of. Maybe down the road they’ll buy it or maybe they’ll call it Overloaded with Daniel Tosh or Jeffrey Ross or Jeff Dunham.
FOH: What’s next for you in the twelve months to come?
MK: Lots of LA shows now. The Comedy Store and Hermosa Beach Comedy & Magic Club really support my comedy and they put me up whenever I’m in town and I love those places. Auditioning for some TV host spots and I have a couple smaller things coming up. My friend and producer Sam Vollen just started making a webisode where I respond to athletes twitter pages, its called “Sports. Kosta. Basement.” and its what I am most excited about now. You can watch it here: http://www.funnyordie.com/michaelkosta I also just submitted another late night set to the TV shows so hopefully someone will use that. But if not, its OK, I’ll just kill myself.
You can catch Michael at Zanie’s in Rosemont August 15th, on visit any of the links below for details on how to sleep with him.
Michael’s official website: http://www.michaelkosta.com/welcome.html
Michael on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/michaelkosta
Michael’s book on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Tips-Winning-More-Tennis-Matches/dp/1585189898
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