Mike Carrozza is Thrilled For You

June 20, 2021

Photo Credit

Photo Credit - Olivia Stadler // Edited by Blonde Medicine

Interview by

Valerie Lopez

Article by

Valerie Lopez

2021 Summer Vacation Series

Destination - Montreal, Canada

The world is in the midst of a host of debuts, including the blinding sight of faces that haven’t seen true sunlight for many months, poking out of doors and taking the cautious first steps back into the great outside.

It’s only fitting that we debut something of our own for the podcast: the 2021 Summer Vacation Series. While we’re in no way on vacation, the theme speaks more to that most summer-y of concepts, traveling to new places near and far. Many of our guests are local to Austin, but during the pandemic we had the honor of “hosting” comics from around the world on our Isolation Comedy series, and the Vacation Series is our way of bringing them back for the full Comedy Wham interview treatment.

While we started off with a heated and contentious debate about the proper pronunciation of Cherubic (a brilliant tactic by our guest since that is the title of his debut comedy album). Once resolution was achieved, we launch into what I can only describe as the Mike Carrozza Kindness Hour. Throughout my talk with Carrozza, I found myself redirecting him a few times to talk about himself. Not because he meandered off the topic of comedy, but because he spent so much time happily hyping up other comics.

It was a sweet character trait that solidified the impression Carrozza made on me when he guested a few times on the 2020 Isolation Comedy online shows. Everyone loved Mike, and everyone seemed to know Mike. He seemed like he was everyone's best friend. And that's a good place to be when you're a standup comic. You want to be likeable on top of being funny, and Carrozza hits both of those traits readily. Of his positive nature, Carrozza says "I am generally a happy nice guy. But it's because I want safety and comfort for everybody who isn't inflicting pain on others."

I am generally a happy nice guy. But it's because I want safety and comfort for everybody who isn't inflicting pain on others.
Mike Carrozza

You have to be funny if you're going to survive the Canadian comedy scene. As Carrozza tells it, Canadian audiences want you to pepper them constantly with jokes. Any breaks from jokes on stage mean dead silence from your audience. So you have to constantly work at engaging with your audience. It's a very different style from the variety of styles you see in America. And it's not to say you can't be successful as a long form story teller in Canada. One of the best albums I've heard is from fellow Canadian K. Trevor Wilson (SexCopFirePenis) and the audience indeed is very very quiet until the punchline of his stories get delivered. It was an interesting observation about Canadian audiences that didn't crystalize for me until Carrozza pointed it out.

Because Carrozza grew up in Montreal, he grew up with the tradition and comedy stalwart that is the Just for Laughs Comedy Festival. The massive festival that takes over Montreal with comics, comedic actors, and "the industry", is something Carrozza has had a precious relationship with. He went from observing, to interning with the festival, to gradually performing at JFL. Part of that trajectory is due to that friendly charm: he'd exhibit his typical friendly, supportive personality and gradually, comics would ask him to be on their shows. "It's been very nice to be able to have been just the guy who's hanging around Just For Laughs (Montreal Comedy Festival) to being , 'Oh, I'm on Just For Laughs.'," he says. As long as you've been putting in the hard work of making those Canadian audiences laugh the rest of the year, those charms were a great way to gain exposure at the festival.

It's been very nice to be able to have been just the guy who's hanging around Just For Laughs (Montreal Comedy Festival) to being , 'Oh, I'm on Just For Laughs.'
Mike Carrozza

The toughest part about being a Canadian comic is fighting the lure of performing on American stages. Unfortunately, cross-border travel is incredibly difficult and has been made more so under restrictive visa requirements imposed by our 45th president (and so far not yet loosened by our 46th). As Carrozza tells it, unless you are an 'individual of extraordinary ability' (as Justin Bieber was deemed, but c'mon, don't we deserve more Canadian comedy?!), it is incredibly difficult to get a work visa to perform in the US.

Despite the challenges of creative expression in the face of lockdown restrictions and cross-border limits, Carrozza is an individual of extraordinary positivity. It's good to confirm that you can be both a fantastic comic and have a childlike positivity. He can pronounce Cherubic any way he damned well pleases.

Want to know more about comedy in Toronto/Montreal and Canada in General?

Mike's recommendations for comics to check out from Canada include: Arthur Simeon, Deborah DiGiovanni, Nour Hadidi, Brendon Ash- Mohammed, Hoodo Hersi, Mark Forward, Steph Tolev, Ivan Decker, Deanne Smith, Rodney Ramsey, Sterling Scott, Graham Clark, Sophie Buddle, Mayce Galoni, Jacob Samuel, Nick Nemeroff, Matt Wright, Hisham Kelati, and Rebecca Reeds.

He also recommends we watch The Mayor of Comedy: A Canadian Stand-up Story to learn more about Canadian comedy and the challenges of trying to perform in the US. (https://mayorofcomedy.com/ )

If you're in Canada, check out the comedy scene where comics have to work very hard for your laughs because silence is never rewarded and so they keep the punchlines coming at you. Canada is the home of the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in Montreal.

Mike can be seen and heard:

  • Online - Check his social media for dates
  • xBummerxBoysx Podcast - Mike and co-host Alex Kolanko talk about songs that made them sad that week
  • We Didn't Get a Rose Podcast - Mike and co-host Chris Mejia recap The Bachelor
  • Cherubic - debut comedy album available everywhere

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Mike Carrozza