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« Garrett, Levy to Premiere Gallery Show | Main | The GQ Comedy Issue »

Inside With: Mike Lawrence

By: Meghan O'Keefe

Photo: Anya GarrettAmong the chosen for this year's New Faces of Comedy at Just For Laughs Montreal was one of last year’s ECNY nominees for the emerging comic award and all-around New York alt comedy scene hero, Mike Lawrence. I talked to Mike--who's in Montreal right now--about the audition process, how he’s preparing for his performances and how comedy connects him to his mother.

How long have you been doing stand up and what inspired you to start?
I've been doing stand-up for what will be five years as of November 5th. Yes, I remember the first day I did it. I'm very sentimental. I was inspired to do it because my mom did it for years. That initially turned me off, but I realized it was something I could do too, and besides it would help me understand her more. It's worked well for that purpose.

If you had to describe your style to someone who had never seen you perform, what would you say?
I think my style is very dark but playful. A lot of the material is personal but I'd like to believe there's enough fun in the writing to keep it from being too depressing. Although sometimes I just come off as too depressing. I do not, however come off as too playful.

How did you find out that you were one of the New Faces of Comedy for this year's Just for Laughs Montreal?
I was called. I cried. I won't lie. Getting into a festival made me do something I haven't done since the montage at the beginning of Up.

Can you describe what the audition process entailed?
I found out I got the first audition in November while at a wrestling event at Madison Square Garden. I got to see a guy legdrop another guy through a table and found out I'd have a chance to get into a major comedy festival, all in the same night. Very exciting stuff. I did that first audition in December, then a callback in February, and then a final callback in May. I'd change up a joke here and there but it mostly stayed the same. I knew the set I wanted to have, and have remained focused.

How does knowing you'll be performing for a room of talent scouts and network executives change the way you typically prepare for a set?
It doesn't scare me too much. I know what I can do and have survived or triumphed in some really tough situations. I've done shows at 2am in front of seven drunk people. A packed room full of hungry people doesn't phase you when you've done some of the shows and mics I have. If anything, I've had to power down a bit and just be thankful the crowds are so great.

What kind of specific opportunities are you hoping to get from this experience?
I'd like to get some work out of it. I'm one of the unsigned comics here and while I've been working on my craft for a good long while now, it'd be cool to see it pay off a little financially. I'm hungry both literally and figuratively, for whatever opportunities come. It's more exciting than anything. Most importantly, I feel I belong here, and that's something that's really comforting. The talent of this crop of new faces is staggering.

Are there any other acts you are excited to see while you're in Montreal?
There are a few shows I'd like to see, but I think it's more important to support the other new faces if I can. I feel like we're all in this together. It's been very supportive. I will probably also catch the Kevin Smith lecture on Thursday. I can't hide who I am.

What's next for you when you return to New York City?
My best friend Dan St. Germain and I are co-headlining a night at Comix on September 16th with Mike Recine featuring and Sean Donnely headlining. I'm going to use these next two months to really prepare for that and get some new stuff. I feel hard work got me here and it's what I have to keep doing. I'll be at whatever open mics and shows are willing to have me and will continue to coproduce the Woodshed open mic on Saturdays with Dan. I want to help other comics and hope next years crop contains some of the Woodshed regulars. I have a feeling it will.

For more information on Just for Laughs Montreal and this year’s New Faces of Comedy, visit For ticket information at Comix visit The Woodshed is a weekly open mic at the Legion bar in Williamsburg.

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    Education helps a person to perform his work in a better way because it teaches him the skills that he needs in his life. Educational institutes not only teach skills but also inculcate in them some personality treats that make a positive impression on people.
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Reader Comments (1)

Mike Lawrence is one of my favorite comics right now. He's hilarious, smart, and dark - things I love in a comedian. This seems like a great opportunity. Hope all goes well.

July 15, 2010 | Unregistered Commenterbecca

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