An Intimate, Sensual Moment with Mike Brody
This week on Funny Title Here, we’re in for an intimate, sensual moment with Mike Brody. I think he’s really great, ’cause he talks about ghosts and faux-hawks. But he photoshopped himself as a frickin’ centaur! (pictured right) How amazing is that? Seriously?
Paolo: You are performing paranormal themed material later this month at a retreat hosted by The Atlantic Paranormal Society (TAPS), the people featured on Sci-Fi Channel’s Ghost Hunters. I think this is awesome, and I definitely want to know how your interest in the paranormal was piqued, also have you had any paranormal experiences?
Mike: I’ve been fascinated by things that frighten me my whole life. The big three are ghosts, aliens and sharks. Since the state I live in (Minnesota) is a good 2,000 miles from sea, and the other two might not even exist, it’s pretty clear that I am not a totally rational person. I fear the day that the ghost of an alien shark comes to get me. It’s possible! (I am also deathly afraid of spit, but that is a totally different story.) Anyway, so I had a life-long attraction to the paranormal and it was only natural that eventually I’d start writing about it in my act. Next thing you know, the organizers of the Ghost Hunters convention see my bit and I’m performing 30 minutes of jokes about ghosts and UFOs and chupacabras in a haunted mansion in the mountains of New Hampshire. It should be fun! Hopefully everybody can hear me through the tin-foil hats.
I have never had a paranormal experience that I’m aware of. It’s quite sad. But rumor has it that one of the old comedy clubs in the Twin Cities is haunted by an old open-miker. There was this old, old comedian who frequented the Minnesota Comedy Club in Maplewood. Real nice guy. Honest to god he looked just like a lawn-gnome. He was narcoleptic and usually just slept in the booth for the whole show. Then unfortunately, he passed away. According to a few employees, they still see him from time to time in his favorite booth sleeping. Hopefully someone’s told his ghost that it’s a karaoke bar now.
Paolo: How did you get into comedy?
Mike: I never had an idea that I was going to do comedy until I was 22 and almost out of college. I grew up watching all the right stuff like reruns of the original SNL and SCTV and all those stand-up shows like MTV’s Half-Hour Comedy Hour, A&E’s Evening at the Improv, Comedy on the Road, etc. But it never occurred to me to even try until a friend of mine did it. He did an open mic at a pizza shop and “killed”. I was a bit of an attention-whore (was?) and figured that I was funnier than him so I tried it out. I went to an open mic and brought 30 of my friends and just kicked ass. I thought I was god’s gift to comedy. Then after about five shows my friends stopped coming around and I realized that comedy is fucking hard when 95% of the room didn’t go to high school with you.
Paolo: Who are your comedic influences?
Mike: My main two influences are Mitch Hedberg and Bill Hicks. And that’s kind of strange because I don’t know that my stand-up really reflects those two at all. Those were just the guys that got me really, really excited about comedy. Maybe inspiration is a better word? I remember starting off in a small club in Iowa and a lot of the headliners were good but kind of unoriginal. It was all “Men are like this, women are like that” and “What’s the deal with airplane peanuts?” I found it all kind of uninteresting and depressing. I started to wonder if that’s all comedy was. Then I saw Mitch Hedberg on Comedy Central and he’s talking about yogurt and koala bears. And I was hooked. I also really enjoy Greg Giraldo, Patton Oswalt, Zach Galifianakis, Brian Regan, Eddie Gossling, Doug Stanhope, Mike Birbiglia, Sarah Silverman and Jim Gaffigan amongst many others (as well as the talented crop of comics we have here in Minneapolis.)
Paolo: What was the absolute worst show you’ve ever had?
Mike: Oh Jesus. I could write a mile. I guess it’d have to be a tie between two shows. The first happened in some poe-dunk town in Illinois. Nobody showed up to the show, so I figured it was going to be cancelled. But the owner said if he was going to pay me then I’d have to put in the work. So I literally did comedy for nobody. Nobody, that is, except for one horrendous, one-toothed redneck up on the second floor playing pool by himself. Every once in a while he would lean over the railing to mock me with a Nelson-from-The-Simpson’s-esque “HA-ha!” and “I fucked your mom!” And as I stood there, telling jokes to myself, a sniper-heckling inbred and a bartender that occassionally came in and out of the room, I figured if I could get through this I could do anything in life.
The second one was the time I opened for Wesley Willis (RIP) at a punk rock club in 2001. Wesley Willis was a 6’6″, 350+ lb., schizophrenic man with a giant, permanent welt on his forehead from repeatedly headbutting people. Nobody knew I was going to be doing comedy. Suprised, drunken, homeless punk rockers don’t make the best crowd in the world. This is the one and only time I’ve ever feared for my life on stage. I remember getting heckled by Wesley Willis himself and a half-dozen Exploited wannabes crawling onto the stage to try and get in my face. My response was to scream back lame obscenities and hide behind an amp until they all cleared out. It was a long show. (On a side note, getting to say I opened for Wesley Willis and actually getting head-butted by him is pretty awesome.)
Paolo: In your Fallout Boy songs clip you talk about how every time a Fallout Boy song plays, a faux-hawk grows. What do you think we as concerned citizens can do to curb the faux-hawk population?
Mike: There’s really not much we can do. That’s the wily nature of the faux-hawk. They’re like ninjas! Have you ever tried catching a Faux-Hawk? It’s like chasing a leprechaun. They just push their hair back down and disappear into the crowd. The only thing we can do is show them a picture of Flock Of Seagulls circa 1985 and hope they learn a lesson from it.
Paolo: Would you have gotten away with it if it wasn’t for those meddling kids?
Mike: Probably not. You know, I think it’d be awesome if science one day proved that ghosts are all really just old men in masks. Maybe that ghost in my house is just my grandpa? It would explain why all my Werther’s Originals keep disappearing. And why it keeps saying “Yooouuuu neeeever viiiisiiiit me anymoreeeeee!”
I definitely want to thank Mike Brody for taking the time out of his day to answer my questions, and as always, why don’t you check out this clip of theirs?