by Ryan Meehan
If you want to have a great time at a comedy show, be sure that Mike Baldwin is performing! He’s considered by many to be one of the smartest, funniest, and most likable comics working the road today. Mike has a clever writing style and a one-of-a-kind delivery that will have audiences rolling with laughter! After winning the Trial By Laughter in Indianapolis, becoming a finalist in the San Francisco Comedy Competition, being twice named Funniest Comic in Kansas City, winning the 2011 Seattle Comedy Competition, and having his debut album go all the way to #8 on the iTunes US comedy charts, Mike Baldwin has proven that he just might become the next big thing and he’s our guest today in 7 questions.
RM: When did you realize that you had what it takes to be a headliner? Do you think that a lot of other comics (particularly the ones who try to skip steps in the maturation process) try to rush into headlining too quickly or oversell themselves when the material isn’t always there? How were you able to remain patient and focused until everything came together?
MB: People tend to do most things before they’re ready. That’s how you learn. You can train all you want but nothing compares to really doing it. Headlining is like sex. Just because you did it one time at one place and it went really well, doesn’t mean you know exactly what to do forever. You’re always going to have some nights where you leave embarrassed, and some nights where you amaze even yourself. But mostly, you’ll always just do ok, unless you’re crazy good. Or crazy bad.
RM: Why do you think ninjas really hate crunchy leaves? If they are truly ninjas, don’t you think that they would have developed some sort of a system to remain silent even in those situations?
MB: People have told me that ninjas carry water with them to make the leaves soggy, but the idea of that is just stupid. Think of all the time it would take. And all the water! Maybe they could swing from trees. That’s really their only option. If there’s crunchy leaves, you’re not walking thru them without making a lot of noise. Unless the wind is blowing really hard, because then lots of leaves are making leaf noises, so then it might be ok. I could explain all that, but, I think just “ninjas hate crunchy leaves” just looks better on a t shirt.
RM: What is it about the comedy competition format that seems to allow you to work so well on stage? Are you at the point now where it’s easy to tell if the judges have a favorable opinion of you as soon as you put the mic back on the stand?
MB: I think there are two kinds of comics when it comes to competitions. First there are guys like me. If I do shitty on stage, everybody knows it. And if I do well, everybody knows that. I think it’s because, for the most part, my material isn’t controversial. It’s just stupid shit that I say that happens to be funny sometimes. But there’s no message behind my jokes. Those are the other kinds of comics: the point-provers. Guys with a message of some kind. They can have the whole audience loving their every word, and still get last place from the judges because the judges didn’t like their message. Or, the opposite happens, they go up, eat shit, and win the whole thing because the judges just loved their message. Either way, it surprises everyone. I’m no surprise. If I win, it’s because my shit and balls jokes killed that night.
RM: I read a blog that you write entitled “How to Raise Your Kids: From a Childless Comedian’s Perspective” Do you think that you’ll ever have kids? And do you think that society tends to be a little bit prejudiced towards yong adult males such as you and me who are single and do not have children? Why or why not?
MB: I think anybody is prejudiced toward anybody who isn’t doing the same thing they’re doing. I do comedy, and I think the idea of having a “real job” is crazy. I could never do it again. I think anyone who has one is foolish. They should stop doing that. Anyone who has kids is foolish because they gave up their dreams to just raise a replacement. And anyone who doesn’t have kids is foolish because they don’t really know what love is and what responsibility feels like. Everybody’s right and everybody’s wrong, it just depends on who you ask. Think of he worst thing you can think of, and I guarantee a few people would agree with you. “Hitler was a bad guy, sure. But a world full of blue eyed blonde chicks wouldn’t have been the Worst thing ever, right?” But yeah. I hope to have kids one day.
RM: How did you come to get sponsored by White Cloud E-cigarettes; and what does the non-smoking portion of the world need to know about vaping? What flavor do you smoke; and has vaping completely eliminated your need for traditional cigarettes?
MB: As I’ve said onstage: e-cigs are to regular cigs like masturbation is to sex. “Sure, I’d rather be doing the real thing right now, but, nobody will let me do that here, so I’ll just do this instead…for now.” I started working with them after a chance encounter with my now good friend Steve Miller (no, not that one.) He worked for WC already and suggested me to them after the two of us worked together. The rest is history. They’re also responsible for funding the recording and distribution of my upcoming (or “recently released”, depending on when you post this.) album, which will be (or IS) titled “Front To Back”.
RM: What’s the most important thing you’ve learned about the comedic writing process? Do you think that five years from now you will still have the same answer to that question?
MB: You need to keep writing every day. And you need to hang around with other people who are writing. It doesn’t have to be people you feel comfortable around. Just people who write. People who can bounce ideas off of you. If you only write with your close friends, you’ll soon find that your writing sessions become “let’s smoke weed or watch TV or go to the bar” sessions instead. There is no actual process, I don’t think. You just write. You put ideas down on paper. I tend to use pen and paper when I’m actually writing ideas. The computer and phone come in later for editing and grouping and such. But when it comes to ideas flowing, I like the pen because it’s about ten times slower than my brain is thinking of ideas. So, with every word, as it’s being written, my brain is going in ten different directions with what the precisely perfect next word might be. Sometimes, I’ll think of two or three totally separate jokes while I’m writing out one. What was the question? Writing? Yeah, it’s not hard. Just do it.
RM: Your 2011 record “Bees Can Taste with their Feet” is a clean version of your act…Why did you decide to release that record without any profanity? Did you ever consider releasing an uncensored version in addition to a clean version?
MB: It was really a coincidence more than anything. I was doing a competition for a local Comcast affiliate in Indianapolis. It was a “TV clean” competition. Part of the first place prize was getting to do an hour in front of the fancy cameras with their fancy sound equipment. I won, they taped me, and I used the sound from that show to make my first album. I feel like I’m funnier now than that album is. I hope I am, at least.
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2014? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
MB: I believe I mentioned that I have a new album coming out. We haven’t picked a release date yet but it’s already been recorded and mastered and all the things. So that will be soon. Other than that I’m just spending 2014 working in Los Angeles and/or the road and trying to be happy and healthy and, most importantly, to double my salary. That’s the plan for every year: Double my salary. It’s worked so far. My first year in comedy I made about $5.37. Now I’m 12 years in. You do the math.
Official Website: http://www.comedianmikebaldwin.com/
Mike on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mikebaldwin
Mike on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/ComedianMikeBaldwin
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