The Hustle: Get Paid to Crack Jokes

Comedian Mike Finazzo

Mike Finazzo is a local comedian and filmmaker who has toured and performed extensively with the likes of Drew Carey, Judah Friedlander and Nick DiPaolo.  His new album “The Cheery Side of Denial” will be released on December 6th through his website.  His first album  ”Stupid Genius” is available on iTunes now.  It was great talking with him about comedy and we have every reason to believe he will be huge success and that he will bring the author of this piece on tour with him when he is!

As a comedian in Baltimore, how do you think working as a performer differs in a small city?  Do you think you might have been less successful coming up in a saturated market like NY or LA?

I think that being anywhere has it’s ups and downs… the great thing about being in Baltimore is that I get longer sets.  If I was in New York, I’d be doing 3 minute spots at open mics.  Here I’ve gotten to grow quicker but New York is where the industry is.  That’s where the brass ring is.

Do you prefer performing in traditional comedy clubs or the “comedy rooms” that are hosted in bars and restaurants? Why?

The ultimate goal is to perform in comedy clubs… but I think every comic should perform anywhere they can.  I’ve performed in comedy clubs, strip clubs and nursing homes (where I had to tell the audience to “blink if they think a joke is funny”) and gotten something out of each experience.

In addition to performing and touring comedy I understand you have a day job where you work with disabled people.  Do you think you’d want to just do comedy full-time if you worked a conventional office job or in general work that was less beneficial?

The ultimate goal is to do comedy full-time.  If I can pay my bills by being funny I’ve made it.  I do like having a day job because it gives me life experience and things to talk about.  I love my job but would really like to solely be doing comedy in the next year.

You’ve performed with some big names in the comedy world.  Anything unexepected you can share?  Any secret dirt on Drew Carey?

Rich Vos is pretty awesome.  He has a rough exterior and is a hard ass on stage but is super cool with young comics.  He got me my first road gigs.  As for my “looper” (Drew Carey)…. He’s super nice, super rich, really funny and has a gorgeous girlfriend who is also really nice.  He won at life.

Any local comedic talent to recommend to our readers?  or unknown comedic talent from anywhere that deserves broader exposure?

Stavros Halkias and Mike Storck are two of my good friends in comedy and are both hilarious.   One of my best friends is Josh Kuderna and he has gotten really funny.  He just started about a year ago and has gotten good very quickly.  Nationally, Ryan Stout is hilarious and a brilliant joke writer.  Everyone should check out his CD.  I’m sure there are a lot of people that great (locally and nationally) that I’m forgetting but still resent.

 

Ezra Lefko

Ezra is a handsome writer, artist and performer. He is a member of What Works Studio, which produces What Weekly. When not working, Ezra is the third member of the Pet Shop Boys.

  • Kathleen Sheedy

    Will have to check out his albums