Stand-up comedian Mike Geeter hails from Pontiac, Michigan and has worked with comedy legends like Kevin Hart, Bobby Slayton, Jim Norton, Artie Lange, and Rickey Smiley. Mike was featured on Fox Television’s comedy showcase Laughs and Kevin Hart Presents: Hart Of The City 2 on Comedy Central. We asked him a few questions…
1. How do you describe your comedy?
My comedy is a hodgepodge of topical jokes, politics, and jokes about family with a racial undercurrent. Race has played a significant role in who I am. I’m like that kid in The Sixth Sense when it comes to seeing race hiding in a lot of my everyday experiences. The key is that I can find some of that stuff funny. The rest I try to make less hurtful.
2. Who are your comedic influences?
My comedic influences are many: Moms Mabley, Redd Foxx, Flip Wilson, George Carlin, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, Dave Chappelle, Chris Rock, Louis CK. I love smart, intelligent comics with a lot of silly mixed in. The silly is like a pressure valve so they don’t cross over into bitter. I do try to channel Chappelle and Rock when I perform. Can’t ever imitate them, but their flow is smart with some street. But, I like to be silly like Moms Mabley and Flip Wilson. I think I’ve found a good balance.
3. You didn’t start stand-up until you were older than many other comics. What are the advantages and disadvantages that come with that?
Man, if I had started comedy when I was 20 or so, with the same drive and opportunities, I would’ve screwed it up. I just know it. Being older has me more settled in life and more focused, along with the same drive. But now I have urgency to succeed now because it’s a young person’s game. All of that has made me less afraid to go after what I want and not fear failure. That has put me into some places that comics that have been doing it longer haven’t been. It doesn’t mean that I’m better, it just means that my focus has urgency attached to it. I can’t wait for things to happen, I have to make them happen. So, I have my hands into a lot of projects.
4. You just recorded a performance for Kevin Hart’s Hart of the City 2. Tell us about that experience.
It’s hard to describe the magnitude of taking part in the show. I knew that it was a BFD. But, I didn’t know just how much of a BFD of BFDs it truly was. I pray every human being gets an opportunity to be treated that well and feel the love the city of Detroit gave us that night. Kevin Hart blessed four comics from Detroit with an opportunity that put us on another level. I see it like Kevin is Willy Wonka and we four got Golden Tickets to the Comedy Chocolate Factory. We can choose to be Veruca Salt, or Augustus Gloop, that boy fell into the chocolate pond, or the Violet Beauregard, the girl that ate the gum and floated away. I want and pray for all to be Charlies. Keep our focus, play within the lines, and come out on top at the end. And, the three cats that did this are able to pull it off. Big time talents!
5. You are about to record a comedy album in Windsor. Tell us about the preparation that goes into that above and beyond just the performance.
There’s been a lot of work that have gone into this. We’ve switched dates, venues, lineups, jokes have changed, I’ve done a lot of shows on the quiet to prepare. Still need to get this set list memorized. But, it’s been one of the most fun processes I’ve ever participated. I lost my mother in June and that took some of the steam out of me. Plus, I have a day job, a family, and a podcast that all take up most of my day. So, I don’t have free time to waste. I listen to my sets when I walk the track or driving in my car. I just bought a speaker for my bathroom so I can listen to my sets there, too! Also, I get to do this show with three of my favorite people in comedy, Tonya Murray, Melanie Hearn, and Rob Kemeny, and in Windsor, which is like a second home for me. I LOVE a challenge, and this has been challenging. But, folks will see the culmination of the effort we’ve put into this when the DVD and CD comes out.
6. You produce a lot of comedy shows. What’s the biggest challenge? What advice would you give to other comics trying to do the same?
The biggest challenge is finding a venue that is as serious about the show as I am. Getting owners and managers to understand that they’re role in promoting the show is just as important as what I do and who I bring into their venue can be difficult. Most people think of comedy like musical acts. They think comics will bring a following to the venue. That’s not necessarily the case most times. Comedians are like when the iPhone launched: nobody thought that they wanted all of that stuff until they saw one perform. A good comedy show can be very successful events IF the venue assists in making it so.
My advice to anyone wanting to start a room is do not jump on the first thing you see. Make sure that it’s a room that already has a lot of traffic because you aren’t going to magically get butts in seats. Think of your show as a good side to a solid main course. Secondly, work on putting together a solid lineup, put some thought into it. A lineup with solid performers will make people interested in the next show. A bad lineup will kill the next show and will taint the waters for any possible future comedy shows at that venue. Lastly, don’t go into it looking for a payday. You’ll probably lose more than you make in the beginning. But, if you can hang in there, keep putting on quality shows, the crowds will come and so will the money.
7. Tell us about your most memorable performing experience.
Two stand out:
The first was when I was performing at Villain’s Beastro in Windsor, Canada. I wasn’t feeling well at all, a crazy gout attack, and it was a horribly cold, rainy night to boot. I thought about backing out of the show but I didn’t want to do that to my friend, Rob Kemeny. When I got to the venue, I asked to go first so I could go home. I sat on the stool to tell my jokes, something I never do. As I’m telling my jokes, this young lady is laughing loudly to everything. I know I wasn’t that funny, at least I didn’t feel that I was. After my set, I go by the exit where the other comics were hanging out and the young lady approached me. She raved about my set, very excited. All I could do was apologize for not doing my best. She then tells me that she was having a bad week. She had some ailment that caused her to lose her hearing in one hear and was told that she was going to lose hearing in her other ear soon. She was despondent and went for a walk where she noticed the flier for the show in the window of Villain’s. So, she came in to feel better, and she did, so she wanted to tell me that before she went home. Another comic told her that there were other comics going up and she told him that she got what she came for, then she left. I drove home, tears pouring down my face.
The second time was after a show at the Holly Hotel. A group came out to tell us how much they loved the show. They went on to say that they came out to make their friend, who was dying from her battle with cancer, feel better. She couldn’t meet with us because they had to take her out before the show ended. Crazy thing was that they were trying to figure out what they could do and happened to find an article on the Holly Hotel and saw that they had comedy. They had no idea. I went into the green room and cried.
I cry a lot. This comedy is magical, powerful stuff!
8. What projects are you currently working on?
I’m working on more comedy shows, have been presented with an opportunity to be in a musical (yes I can sing), I have my podcast Geeter Deals With It and am starting up another podcast with Seth Resler called The D Brief. Outside of that, anything Kevin Hart needs me to perform.
EXTRA CREDIT: If you could create a float for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, what would the theme of your float be?
My float’s theme would be called “Let’s Go Get ‘Em” and would be a homage to living your dreams versus sitting back waiting for your dreams to happen. It would be a bunch of clouds, a smiling sun, and my Grandmumma’s Bible, which is float sized. It was a big one. And, the scripture Isaiah 54:17 will be written on it. Riding on it would be the inventor of the Moon Pie or one of his relatives (inside story), Barry Sanders, Laila Ali, and all of my siblings. It’ll be a large float. Probably sponsored by Kellogg’s Pop-Tarts (another inside story).