Comedians bring joy to many people. Whether it’s through stand-up comedy, screenwriting, cartooning or various other mediums, comedians find ways to poke fun at the absurdities in everyday life. Comedian Mike Morse is blessed with the ability to make people laugh via stand-up comedy, radio and written media. In fact, he once wrote for the bizarrely hilarious “newspaper” known as “News of the World”, a supermarket tabloid that introduced the world to many strange characters, including the now-cult-classic “Bat Boy.”
Mike has since gone on to work for the Howard Stern Show, ESPN and Comedy Central. He has appeared on MTV, VH-1 and E! Entertainment Network. He was a winner on ABC-TV’s long- running show “America’s Funniest People” and was the host and head writer of FOX-TV’s stand-up/sketch comedy show “The Comedy Cabaret.” He has the distinction of appearing the AC/DC music video “Stiff Upper Lip” and the Ben Folds Five music video “Army.” On film, Mike made his movie debut as raucous rocker Steve Weasel in “White Chicks, Incorporated.”
A veteran stand-up comedian, Mike has brought his energetic act to clubs and theatres across North America, including venues in New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Miami, Atlantic City, Las Vegas, Toronto, and Montreal. Whether performing at the Borgata Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas’ Rio Hotel and Casino, or NYC’s Caroline’s Comedy Club, his unique style makes him a headlining favorite wherever he performs. He was recently a part of the New York Underground Comedy Festival, and for the past seven years, he has been the opening act for Comedy’s Queen of Mean, Lisa Lampanelli.
Mike was writer for the popular NYC sketch group Third Rail Comedy starring “Hot Tub Time Machine” actor Rob Corddry, and also wrote and performed in several successful comedy stage productions, including “Nuts In A Lifeshell” and “Dust Bunny Beaujolais.” He has crafted jokes for “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno” and his writing has also been featured on, A&E, Fuse, Tough Crowd with Colin Quinn, The Comedy Central Roasts of Flava Flav, Bob Sagat, David Hasselhoff, and Donald Trump, Larry The Cable Guy’s Christmas Spectacular TV Special, and the NY Friars Club Roasts of Betty White and Jack Black. Additionally, he has written special material for many well-known entertainers and luminaries, including Jeff Foxworthy, Lisa Lampanelli, Gilbert Gottfried, Lewis Black, Jerry Lewis, Artie Lange, and Jeffrey Ross.
Mike’s unique joke-writing style has earned him several entries in the popular book “The Complete Idiot’s Guide To Jokes.” He was a writer and regular contributor to The Howard Stern Show, and was a co-host on the weekly show “Miserable Men” featured on Sirius/XM Satellite Radio. At present, he works for MAD Magazine and is consistently booked for live comedy shows around the country. Recently, Mike was nice enough to speak to the Examiner about his experiences working in comedy and his hopes for the future:
Meagan Meehan (Examiner): What inspired you to become a writer, specifically a comedy writer?
Mike Morse (M.M.): I don’t think you decide to become a comedy writer. It’s more like, “I’m having all these really weird thoughts that are making me laugh and no one else I know seems to be having them. Maybe I should write this shit down.” So you do, and the people who read it either cart you off for a psychiatric examination or laugh and encourage you to continue. So far, I haven’t been carted off. That being said, I was a huge fan of MAD Magazine and bought every issue for years and years, analyzing the jokes inside. I’m sure that helped twist my brain into its current unsightly shape,
Examiner: Growing up, what media had the biggest impact on you? Why?
M.M.: I was raised in front of the TV, so watching great sitcoms, old comedy movies, and comedians performing on The Tonight Show really cemented my love for getting a laugh. And SNL brought TV comedy to a whole new level. When I got a bit older, I became a huge fan of Howard Stern on the radio. I eventually got to work on his show, so that was a dream come true.
Examiner: You once worked for “The Weekly World News” which was famous for its crazy yet hilarious stories. How did you start writing for them and what was the experience like?
M.M.: I thought that WWN was really funny so, being young and stupid, I figured I’d just contact them and ask if I could send in some sample stories. It must have been a slow week at the WWN offices, because they asked me to start writing for them. It was great! Getting paid for writing journalistic gems like “Bigfoot And The Jersey Devil Tie The Knot In Super-Secret Marriage Ceremony” definitely beats working a real job.
Examiner: You now work for MAD Magazine. What has that experience been like?
M.M.: As I said earlier, I was a HUGE fan of MAD when I was younger and always dreamed about writing for them. Then, a few years ago, I worked on a project with another writer, a very funny guy named Frank Santopadre. Frank was writing for MAD, so he recommended me and now, I’m one of MAD’s Usual Gang of Idiots…which is several steps up from the Average Idiot I was before working for them. Writing for them is really special for me, and I get a thrill every time I see one of my pieces in the magazine.
Examiner: You are also a stand-up comic. How does going through a routine on stage compare to writing funny articles?
M.M.: I love the freedom and the immediacy of the stage, but I also love the control of creating a written piece. Asking me to choose one is like asking me which of my children I love more. Actually, that would be easier, because one of my kids is a pain in the ass.
Examiner: Thus far, what has been your favorite project and why?
M.M.: I’ve written for a lot of Comedy Central and Friar’s Club roasts. They’re a lot of fun to write for because you’re coming up with so many jokes about so many different people. And, as one of the writers, you can hang around the after party with the famous people and pretend you’re a celebrity, until you get kicked out for demanding a bowl of green M&M’s.,
Examiner: What is your “dream project”?
M.M.: Obviously, being interviewed for The Examiner. But now that I’ve crossed that off my bucket list, I guess I’d have to say writing for a TV series. I’ve been close a couple of times, but haven’t gotten to do that yet. Actually, my dream job would be anything that pays lots and lots and lots and lots of money without having to do much of anything. Basically, I’d like to be a professional Kardashian.
Examiner: So far, what has been the most rewarding thing about being involved in the comedy/entertainment industry?
M.M.: With freelance writing, easily the most rewarding thing is being able to do your job sitting at home in your underwear and taking a four-hour lunch break, starting at nine a.m. With stand-up, the most rewarding thing is hearing people laugh at something you thought up and still marveling at the fact that they’re not carting me off to the psych ward for saying it.
Examiner: Career wise, where do you see yourself in ten years?
M.M.: I will either be incredibly successful and wealthy, or an abject failure who’s reduced to eating out of the dumpster behind the Red Lobster. But, either way, I’ll still be writing funny stuff; perhaps on the back of a soiled Red Lobster napkin, but writing nonetheless.
Examiner: Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to mention?
M.M.: I’m touring around with my stand-up, so anyone who wants to check that out can follow me on Twitter at @mikemorsesays.
Examiner: What advice would you give to someone who is aspiring to become a comedy writer and/or standup comedian?
M.M.: DON’T DO IT! I DON’T NEED THE COMPETITION!!! Actually, whether you want to write or perform or both, write every day. Find ways to get your product out there. Don’t be a dick. That last piece of advice is probably the most important. I’ve known a lot of funny and talented people who sabotaged their careers by being a dick. So don’t be a dick.
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To learn more about Mike Morse follow him on Twitter and Facebook.