Comedian Mike Carrozza has just returned from “Crom Comedy Festival” in Omaha, where he appeared with heavyweights Bobcat Goldthwait and Rhea Butcher. With upcoming shows “Talk Show Circuit” at St. Amboise Montreal FRINGE and “My First Time” at Just for Laughs Montreal’s Off-Fest, he’s clearly on a roll. Asked about the mounting pressure to perform, Carrozza’s response is characteristically upbeat. “If I’m able to get up on a stage and make people feel silly for half a second, I’m getting a lot out of it.”
“Talk Show Circuit” is a screwball mash-up of the Talk Show genre, featuring “stand-up comedy, silly interviews, sketches, medical emergencies and more.” “My First Time,” is a traditional stand-up comedy showcase, featuring 10-15 minute sets from Montreal’s up-and-comers.
While Carrozza revels in the joy of reducing an audience to giggles with his off-the-wall humor, he is equally appreciative of the camaraderie among fellow performers. “The local clubs have been very kind, in having me work for them… Folks I’m friendly with, even from far away, continue to offer their support and encouragement. These friendships have been the best part of being part of the comedy community.”
“I’m thinking of Jackie Kashian – she’s one of my favorites… I met her about 3 or 4 years ago, when she was opening for Maria Bamford. Recently, she was back, headlining in Montreal and it was like, ‘Hey Buddy!’ I feel like I am now at a place where I can have these conversations at a different level.”
“Another favorite of mine is comedian Tom Brady. He was named one of the New Faces at last year’s JFL. When he found out that I was going to be in Omaha, right away he said, ‘We’re going to room together!’ So we got to hang out and do comedy.”
Carrozza makes a point of paying forward the support and encouragement he has received along the way, by promoting his fellow Canadians when on the road in the U.S. “I say to show Organizers, ‘Did you enjoy my set? Here’s a list of ten top comedians you should know about.”
Carrozza entered the world of comedy as a teenager, by volunteering at JFL. “As a kid growing up in Montreal, going to the festival and seeing all your heroes, it has a really strong influence on you.” He soon became a JFL Walker, one of the festival reps who help escort comedians to their shows. “I was so enthusiastic—always there the earliest, leaving the latest—always doing what I could.” When festival Co-founder Andy Nulman needed extra assistance one year, Carrozza was offered the job. “Andy is someone I’ve admired my whole life. He is also one of the kindest people I’ve ever met—like the Jewish dad I never had,” he quips.
A self-described comedy nerd, Carrozza credits Doug Benson with his choice of career. “I’m a huge fan. Six years ago, when I was traveling back and forth to school, I’d listen to the entirety of Benson’s first album. I was the ‘funny guy’ among my friends, but Benson was the one who inspired me to believe that I could definitely have fun and make a run at this.” Other heroes include Maria Bamford and Andy Kindler, both of whom return to JFL this summer. “You know, Maria practices her routines daily, for hours. Her comedy is so precise… When I first saw Andy Kindler, I couldn’t understand what was happening! I was losing my mind. He was so loose, playing the audience like jazz.”
While Carrozza is the star of “Talk Show Circuit,” he is proud to live out his “selfish dream” of playing Host to an array of local talent. Audiences can count on spirited, utterly unanticipated performances from all.
“Talk Show Circuit”
June 10 – 18, 2016
Le Petit Campus
57 Prince Arthur E.
Tickets: $10, $7 students
“My First Time”
July 7- 9, 2016
Theatre Ste. Catherine
264 Ste. Catherine E.