Fresh off his stint on Last Comic Standing, Cleveland-born Michael Palascak has hit the road with fellow finalists for the NBC Last Comic Standing Tour. The crew has a performance nearly every day from now until December, stopping at Playhouse Square Oct. 11.
Hoping this show will catch him some gigs, the self-deprecating comic sold himself to us when we chatted with him on tour. Palascak finds humor in day-to-day life, his success and his lackthereof. We caught up with him to talk about his next moves, the difficulties of being on the road and Swenson’s.
How’s the tour going so far?
Oh, man. It’s just been night after night, get on the bus, go to a show. I’m in Missouri now. I didn’t even know we were going to Missouri until I woke up on the bus and we were in Missouri. Tomorrow we’re in Chicago and I said, “That’s far away.” and they said, “No, it’ll work out.”
Have you been on a tour this intensive?
I’ve never been on a tour like this. I don’t know if anybody’s been on a tour like this before. I don’t know if it’s healthy or possible. We haven’t finished it yet. I don’t know if it’s going to happen. But they tell us it’s going to happen. We’ll see. We only get something like 10 days off between now and December.
Are the audiences different from city to city?
Yeah, definitely. We did a lot of casinos out west. And especially in Vegas, the crowds are older. And they might not be there for the show. Where in these cities, people are really there for the show. I think they’re different like that. As a comic though, it’s my job to just do who I am. So I try not to overthink it or wonder why a certain city didn’t respond as well as others.
With a tour like this, the act has a variety of different comedians and styles on stage. How does yours compare?
Everyone, like you said, has a different style. I don’t know if mine does stand out at all. Mine sort of sits in the corner and is like “I’m over here, whenever you guys are ready.” I’m definitely clean, like I was on TV. But I obviously don’t do the same material as I did on TV. I’m appropriate for all ages. I try to act natural onstage too. Not lower energy but I’m more natural in my story telling.
You’ve done stand-up comedy, improv, a comedy album. Have you found a niche y
I love doing improv because I got to work with other people. I love doing stand-up because I have all the control. My album, I loved that too. I’m at a point in my career where I haven’t quite found my niche or my voice yet. I think everyone goes through that. When I was younger, I had that niche and that voice. Now I’m a bit older so I need to rediscover who I am.
What is the plan then, after the tour?
Your guess is as good as mine. I want to keep doing this. I just need people to book me. That sounds desperate. I’ll give you my email address too if you want to contact me for bookings. I’m great for corporate events.
I’m going to go back to L.A. for the winter, and I’ll look at TV shows for pilot season and then keep writing and doing stand-up. I was talking to my manager about a Netflix special. But they haven’t contacted me yet. Did my dad ask you to ask me this? Because he’s been asking me that a lot.
How are you evolving your material, now that you’re not living at home or in college anymore?
I have passed that part of my life. I did those jokes on TV, and they’re going to be there forever for people to go back and enjoy. But I’ve realized college is over. And those people in my life, some are still there, but a lot of them are gone. Now I’m writing about my experiences as more of an adult and travelling a lot. I have a girlfriend I make fun of and she’s fine with it as long as people laugh. I think along the road, I’ve always been afraid that there wouldn’t be material as I move on to different parts of my life but I’m starting to realize that is the material. That’s what makes this so fun. Whatever you’re experiencing is your material.
Have you spent a lot of time in Cleveland?
I was actually born in Cleveland. We lived in Cleveland until I was three. Those were very memorable years. My dad’s family has always been from there, on the west side, and we would go there for holidays multiple times a year. So I was raised on the Cavs and the Browns and the Indians. I get to go back to Hilarities and I get to see my cousins and my aunt and uncle. It’s a really great city that I love getting to experience as an adult.
Are there any spots in Cleveland you’re looking forward to visiting while you’re here?
Yeah, I don’t know if the Browns are playing but I’d love to go to that. I love the West Side Market. Hilarities is a great comedy club that I’ve always thought was really fun. I love a lot of Cleveland.
I hope to get to see LeBron. Last time I was here, I went to Swenson’s and it was great. My roommate in college was from Medina and he made me go there. So when I went, everyone asked why I was eating at Swenson’s and I said, “Lebron and my roommate.”
Last is probably the most dreaded question but I have to ask for people who have never seen you perform. Who would you compare your style of comedy to and who would you name as influences?
Thank you for understanding that’s the dreaded question. We do meet and greets before shows and that’s a go-to question. So I’ll just change my answer every time because I think it’s funny.
When I started out, I really liked Mitch Hedberg. A lot of my jokes were shorter and I’ve never been a salesman or a charming type of person. And he wasn’t like that either. So I related to that. Adam Sandler didn’t do a lot of standup but he was sort of like that too. So those two I think influenced me a lot. Jerry Seinfeld was also that prolific comedian that everybody knew that I looked up to. So I would say Mitch Hedberg and Jerry Seinfeld.
I think the people I started out with though are more influential than any famous people. They taught me what it was to be a stand-up and that’s something that will stick with me forever.
Anything else you’d like to talk about?
You know, after the tour’s over I don’t have a job. So if anybody has a job. Standup is the ideal position. But if there’s a marketing position or something like that. All the other comics on the tour say, “We’re booked up!” But I’m open for any opportunities that are available. I’ll endorse any products. Also, I’m on Twitter.
Tickets for NBC’s Last Comic Standing Tour can be found on Palascak’s website.