by Ryan Meehan
Mike Marino – affectionately known to thousands of his fans as New Jersey’s Bad Boy – he is one of the most unique comics of our time. He has performed in every major comedy club from New York to Los Angeles including: The MGM Grand, Catch a Rising Star, The Comic Strip, Stand Up NY, The Improv, Rascals and The Icehouse. Mike, who has worked with some of the biggest names in the business, can be seen nightly as a top headliner at both the world famous Laugh Factory and The Comedy Store in Hollywood. Mike has appeared in over 200 national television commercials, and has received a Best Actor Clio Award Nomination. He has acted in many Prime Time soaps and television shows including: As the World Turns, One Life to Live, Becker, Nikki, Frasier and Party of Five. His film credits include Crooks, Pizza with Bullets, Hangin’ in Hedo and Steven King’s Lucky Quarter. After great success in film, theatre, commercials and soaps, Mike Marino began touring the country performing at countless comedy clubs and sold out theatres in the thousands. His stand-up material ranges from cutting edge observations of everyday life to his Italian family roots; which recently spun into a T.V. pilot called “Marino’s”. His comedic style has landed him guest appearances on The Tonight Show as a regular sketch player, The Martin Short Show, Comics Unleashed, The Boomer Show, Wild Pitch, Hand Held Comedy Radio and the Rascals Comedy Hour to name a few. In the Fall of 2008, Mike Marino was inducted into the New Jersey Comedy Hall of Fame. Mike has also been featured on numerous talk shows and has hosted some of the most prestigious award shows including The Beverly Hills Film Awards, Hoboken Film Festival, and the Montreal Quintus Film Festival. He has performed in hundreds of corporate functions for companies including AT&T, United Airlines, American Express, Paul Mitchell, IBM, Wella, Merrill Lynch, Sebastian Intl., Toyota, L.A.S.D., N.J. Asphalt Assoc., The City of Hope, OSIA, and the LAPD. Mike Has performed for numerous charities including Aids Project – LA, Haven House, Team earthworks, and the Eric Davis Cancer Fund. When Marino is not performing, he enjoys traveling and spending time with his family on the East Coast but thankfully he took enough time away from those recreational activities to be my guest today in 10 questions.
RM: If you had to give the title of “Worst City in New Jersey” to one specific metro area within your state, which one would it be and why?
MM: TRENTON, It’s just such a waste….
RM: How did you get your start doing stand-up? How long did you consider getting up on stage before actually doing it; and what was the most unexpected thing about your first experience?
MM: I got on stage at age 19 as a dare at a comedy competition, I won and never stopped doing it. I have had many unexpected things happen, and it never stops.
RM: How serious are you about taking a run at the White House in 2016? What is the most fascinating aspect of the whole political process to you; and to which direction would you lean with regards to social issues and fiscal policy?
MM: I’m on the road to the White House and it’s no joke, but I can’t tell you too much…you’ll just have to watch it happen.
RM: What percentage of the material you perform at corporate gigs would you say is individually tailored to that company’s exact industry and its day-to-day operations? What was the most difficult corporate show you’ve ever had to work; and what type of jokes did you do in front of the Los Angeles Police Department?
MM: I learn about the company as much as I can, then I write something that they are familiar with, and add the flavor of my own act. I have done so many shows for police departments all over the world it’s almost as if I was a cop at one time.
RM: Other than the fact that you are performing for a group of people who are willing to lay down their life for our country, what is the most eye-opening facet of the entire USO experience? Was there a specific moment from any of those tours that really stood out as being particularly memorable and touched you on a personal level?
MM: Tuff question…Kosovo, long time ago. Sad war torn country, I wanted to just bring all of the troops home. I’ve been in the hot zone, not pretty! Hard gun fire and thought “How could this really be happening?”, then we tell jokes and make them laugh, but I just wanna bring them home.
RM: What’s the most bizarre thing that’s ever happened to you in all your years of doing stand-up comedy? How did you react to that situation at the time; and if happened again tonight what would you do differently?
MM: Some girl asked me to autograph her boobs after a show. I did everything I could to make her go away as I was trying to sell DVDs. Once I autographed the boobs, her husband came after me and wanted to kick my ass as if it were my fault. Next time I’ll say I forgot my pen!
RM: Which stereotype associated with East Coast comics do you hate the most? Why do you think that particular cliché bothers you so much; and is that belief something you can see changing over time as people come to realize that it’s not necessarily true?
MM: The thing I hate the most about an East Coast stereotype would only be from people who don’t fully understand. My type of comedy plays all over the world. But then again if there weren’t any stereotypes, we would all be white bread.
RM: If you couldn’t answer that its equal parts both, would you say that stand-up comedy is more of an art or a science? To what degree does your answer to that question affect your approach towards working on new material?
MM: It’s both! Material changes, gets re-hashed, thrown away and brought back. Topical humor changes daily.
RM: Which portion of the writing process would you say you struggle with the most and why? Conversely, which aspect of constructing new bits would you say is your specialty; and why do you think you excel at that particular facet of your craft?
MM: The easy part is when it comes out of your mouth live on stage. The hard part is when you try to create it at home because there is no instant reaction.
RM: Do you have any sort of criteria in place when it comes to evaluating bits that could potentially be nearing the end of their life cycle? How do you ultimately decide when it’s time to completely remove a joke from your set?
MM: When the audience stops laughing or certain jokes are no longer requested. I have been wanting to lose certain parts of my act, but when I don’t do them, my fans actually get angry!
RM: What’s up next for you in the remainder of 2015 and beyond? Anything big in the works that we should know about?
MM: I have finished a sit-com and a reality show, I hope the world will see come October. A new film that I co-star in as a detective looking for a murderer called “Criticized” will come out in the fall. And of course, I am running for President of the United States! Not by choice, but America needs me! Tell everyone to vote for me by clicking LIKE at www.facebook.com/mikemarinolive and spread the word by using #MikeMarinoForPresident
Official Website: http://mikemarino.net/
Mike on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/mikemarinolive
Mike on Twitter: https://twitter.com/mikedmarino
Mike on Instagram: https://instagram.com/mikemarinolive
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