Is This Thing On with Mike Carrozza : I Have a Character Issue

Mike Carrozza drinks milk Mike Carrozza. Photo Sarah Cotton.

(I’d like to start by saying that this title is dedicated to Theo Radomski, Peter J. Radomski, and Jason Hatrick.)

Stand-up comedy isn’t what it use to be. Now, what used to be known as the alternative comedy scene has become pretty much the mainstream and commonplace.

In this case, what I am calling alt comedy is the self-referential style wherein a comic acknowledges that they are performing and comments on the construction of the jokes or of the show. There’s more to alternative comedy than just that, but that’s what has become more commonplace.

Another facet of alt comedy is character comedy. This is when the comedian creates an entirely different character for the stage. I’m not writing about a comedic persona. That is usually an extension of the comedian. I mean an entirely different person embodied by the comedian. Someone with a different name, different clothes, different thoughts, different afflictions.

Andy Daly

Andy Daly

Contemporary comedians like Andy Daly (or Andrew as he is labeled on his album, Nine Sweaters) and Nick Kroll. Even strange impressions of real people or characters from television and film are fair game. Paul F. Tompkins’ version of Cake Boss and James Adomian’s Jesse Ventura are wonderful.

I know that Daly performs comedy as characters and Nick Kroll has also done so, but it was really the podcast Comedy Bang! Bang! that sparked my interest in character comedy. This paired with my appreciation for Saturday Night Live drove me to attempt a character on stage.

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I performed at Burritoville on a Wednesday night at the Shut Up and Laugh show (which is wonderful and happens every Wednesday at 8:30 on the 2nd floor of Burritoville. Great food, great comedy. Oh, and it’s pay-what-you-can. It’s a no brainer. Come this week. I’m on.).

I had long decided to take a character I had created for a sketch onto the stage (see 1:20 into the video below). That was a few years back (I think?) and the character has evolved since then, as I have been trying to write a bunch of sketches for the character over the past year. I’ve never been satisfied with the sketches, but found the ideas fun enough to bring them to the stage.

Luckily, it worked out. I’m pleased to say that I really enjoyed it and am going to continue experimenting with character comedy.

And I would like to extend an invitation to my peers and pals in the comedy scene to give characters a shot.

In fact, I’d like to start a monthly comedy show where performers get to do exactly that. (if you know of a venue, message me on facebook! I’m still looking.)

Give it a try. You might find something out.

Be well,
Mike “King Bagel” Carrozza

Local Comedian:

Daniel Carin

Daniel Carin! What can I say that isn’t already understood by a glance at his adorable smile! He is such a likeable presence and always a sure shot for a lineup. I always enjoy this man and his mannerisms. Daniel runs a Tuesday show with Chris Sandiford (SPOTLIGHT COMING SOON!) at Shaika Cafe called The Ladies and Gentlemen Show at 9pm. Also, Pay-what-you-can!

“LADIES AND GENTLEMEN WELCOME TO THE LADIES AND GENTLEMEN SHOW!” is a fun thing to hear because you know you’re about to have a great time. It’s one of my favourite venues in the city. You can check out Daniel and Chris in some of their hilarious videos and their fringe show (I believe. someone correct me if I’m wrong.).


Famous Comedian:

Andy Daly or Nick Kroll, take your pick.

You HAVE to listen to The Andy Daly Podcast Pilot Project and watch his show Review.

Also you HAVE to watch Kroll Show.

Just Google these guys. They’ve been around a while. They’re hilarious. Let their work speak for itself.