Audio by Lara Smith, Words by Lara Smith
It’s a Wednesday night and I’m standing in the Andy Ritchie’s Balthazar Lounge of Cap City Comedy Club, basking in the warm glow of what was just an amazing performance. I’m watching as a line of adoring fans are patiently waiting to meet the man that just dazzled us all. The woman next in line squeals with delight and wraps her arms around Mike E. Winfield as if he’s an old high school buddy greeting her at the airport. This is the kind of fan you will see at one of Mike E Winfield’s shows, and it says so much about his dedication to the art of stand up and connecting to his audience.
Born in Baltimore, Winfield says his mother was constantly keeping he and his brother on the straight path. Determined they wouldn’t get caught up in the drugs and street life of the city, his mother was the parental equivalent of the DARE program. Sacramento would eventually become home, offering such a different environment, by contrast. Always an animated person, Winfield says his gullibility was his comedic gift as a child, and a source of constant amusement at home. He still feels that childlike gullible essence continues to lend to his performance.
Early on in his comedy career, Winfield would write to try to be funny, but it was always the bits and stories rooted in truth that got the most response. Winfield realized he needed to combine his natural talent for being funny with authenticity to find that winning combination. Blending stories from his real life with his animated knack for physical comedy has become his signature, and fans love him for it.
Winfield is such a prolific writer and you would be hard-pressed to see him doing the same material twice. Rather, his material evolves and progresses with his life and moves like the arc of a great story. Each set feels like a dramatic sitcom season you want to binge-watch on Netflix.
As with any comedian with a gift for physical comedy, it was no surprise that Winfield eventually began to pursue acting. He quickly learned that as demanding as the career path of comedy is, the required dedication of the TV and film industry is equally strong. Finding the balance of pursuing an acting career, without it taking a toll on his first love of comedy, has been a challenge. Make no mistake though, Mike E. Winfield’s star is rising quickly as an actor. With an appearance on The Office, Winfield now has a movie, Pimp, starring DMX and Keke Palmer, premiering at Tribeca. He has also just been nominated for a Daytime Emmy for his guest role on Conversations in LA.
With several other acting projects in the works, Winfield is still diligent about writing and stand up. For him comedy is like an addiction and he needs to feel like he’s really connecting with his audience, giving each performance his all. He’s very hands-on with his social media, reaching out and keeping fans in the loop, personally. Perhaps this is why his fans respond to him with such excitement and dedication; we just can’t wait to binge-watch the next season of Mike E. Winfield’s story.