By Ryan Meehan
A New York City comedian, Mike Lawrence has been featured on such notable brands as TBS’ Conan, Marc Maron’s WTF Podcast, Paul Provenza’s Setlist, John Oliver’s New York standup show, and his new half hour special on Comedy Central premiered Friday Night to rave reviews. When he’s not working in New York City’s best clubs or headlining all over the country, he can be seen featuring for the likes of Tom Papa, John Oliver, and Marc Maron. Mike was one of the “New Faces” at the 2010 Just For Laughs festival in Montreal, and was back with JFL in 2012, doing both the Chicago and Montreal gigs. He also recorded for HBO Canada’s Funny As Hell, and he’s our guest today in 5 questions.
RM: How has comedy changed in the time that you’ve been performing standup? Do you ever worry that the online video industry is threatening live comedy?
ML: In the time I’ve started, podcasts, web videos and the whole DYI mentality has really come into full swing. And I think it’s awesome. Comedy is a meritocracy. People will still want their comedy to actually be good, regardless of where it comes from.
RM: Your special premiered on Friday, May 31st…So far how do you think it’s been received? What type of feedback have you received and while you were watching it did you notice anything that you didn’t notice while the special was being edited?
ML: It’s mostly been great. A few people hated it, but that’s going to happen. A part of me wanted to only retweet the negative comments, but I’d rather just let them keep to themselves. Don’t want to interfere with someone’s hate. Let’s keep things pure!
RM: Could you tell us a little bit about your album “Sadamantium” that’s now available on iTunes? What’s with the Wolverine claws that you’re sporting on the cover?
ML: Just thought it was a cool title. Wolverine isn’t my favorite superhero (It’s the Thing), but I just figured that if I wasn’t a comic and I saw an album with that title, I would buy it. Even it was a ska album. I’d still just scoop it up. Hopefully enough people feel the same way.
RM: I noticed in an interview you did with Modern Comedian where you said that people wouldn’t understand when you told them you were a comic because you weren’t on television, and that it was an uphill battle from there. Do you think the types of people that blow comedy off as not being a legitimate career will ever understand that struggle of going from open micer to headlining? And do you feel that now since you are on television that all of that hard work has finally paid off?
ML: I don’t think people need to understand the struggle. They don’t want to and whenever they see a comedian, they just want to laugh and that’s more than with me. You should just assume that if you think anyone is at least decent at their craft then they probably spent a good amount of time working on it. The hard work has paid off but it’s never over. I just have to work even harder. My half hour and my album just dropped and I have to start over again and build up a new set. It’s terrifying but awesome at the same time.
RM: Let’s talk about writing…Have you ever had period of time where you’ve developed a set of jokes that you were really confident about, but then they did not translate well live? On the flipside, have you ever had jokes that you thought were maybe middle of the road and then when you tried them out they absolutely killed?
ML: I write stuff that I love that bombs all the time. Most of it does. It’s the worst. If people laughed at everything, I would have a lot more material. And there are jokes that I don’t think are the best that people love. But the way I see it is, that it’s my job to at least meet the audience halfway. I do the jokes that they love so that I can do the jokes that I do.
RM: What’s the strangest thing that you’ve ever seen happen while you’ve been on stage? What did you learn from that whole experience?
ML: There’s always crazy shit. Recently there was a woman making a phone call during a show. I pointed out what she was doing and she just looked at me and said “it’s for work”. I just looked at her and said “what do you think I’m doing?”
RM: What’s next for Mike Lawrence in the twelve months to come? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
ML: Hopefully bigger and better things. Maybe some late night, maybe some TV panel spots, some more touring, perhaps a writing job. I don’t know what’s going to happening but the fact that anything might is really exciting.
Official Website: http://mikelawrencecomedy.com/
Mike on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/themikelawrence
Mike on Twitter: https://twitter.com/TheMikeLawrence
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