According to a Yiddish proverb, “What soap is to the body, laughter is to the soul.” If there’s one thing people from all walks of life mutually appreciate, it’s comedy. Renowned funny man Mike Malone has been delivering laughs and cleansing souls from the West to East Coasts all summer long, with his next stop being our very own Port City.
With almost nine impressive years of stand-up under his belt, no one would have guessed Malone was unaware of his possibilities when first starting out. “I didn’t even know it was an option,” he says. “I grew up watching [and listening] to Steve Martin, Eddie Murphy and Richard Pryor. So I thought you had to be ‘The Chosen One.’”
However, being recognized as the self-proclaimed “fat kid in school” with a great sense of humor, it didn’t take long for Malone to find his perfect outlet. At age 19 he and a friend performed stand-up comedy for the first time at The Funnybone in his home state of Ohio.
“We practiced night after night for two weeks until we had our five-minute routine down,” he recalls. “So we showed up [to a] sold-out show with 320 people packed in there. And I caught the bug. I can’t go four days without being onstage.”
Which is a good thing, because every time he takes the stage, the crowd is treated to a high-energy performance married with a plethora of personal stories. The formula behind his comedy is comprised of three equally important components: character work, energy and honesty. All stem from his comedic influences from childhood.
“My character work is from watching Eddie Murphy for years, the energy and silliness comes from Steve Martin, and the honesty comes from the Richard Pryor influence,” he recalls. “Those were the guys I idolized growing up,—hell, I still do.”
Thus, Malone considers honesty the best policy. “I find the more honest you are, the harder they laugh,” he notes. “I did improv for years, so crowd work is probably 35 percent of my show, which is great because that makes every show different and unique.”
The inimitable aspects of individual performances help the comedian gauge the success of each show. After years of practicing, Malone knows his material backward, forward and according to the comedian, “even in [his] sleep.” He undoubtedly knows what works, and what jokes the crowd will respond to. Therefore, he finds gratification in successful spontaneity.
“I always judge a show by ad-libs,” he says. “When I ad-lib a line [while] doing crowd work or in the moment of a joke, and it works, that’s victory for me.”
According to the comedian, he will be bringing “an unforgettable and interactive night of comedy” to the Port City not once, but twice, on August 5th and 6th at Nutt Street Comedy Room. Doors open at 7 p.m., and the laughter begins at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance, available at www.malonecomedy.com, or $10 on the day of the show.