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

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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 Mon­tréal, he grew up with the tra­di­tion and com­e­dy stal­wart that is the Just for Laughs Com­e­dy Fes­ti­val. The mas­sive fes­ti­val that takes over Mon­tréal 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 (Mon­tréal 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/​Montréal 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://​may​o​rof​com​e​dy​.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 Montréal.

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


Fol­low Mike

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Mike Carrozza