5Q :: Mike Brody even gets ‘Ghost Hunters’ laughingMinneapolis comedian Mike Brody is one of only a few working “paranormal comedians." Find out what that means inside.
Many comedians have risen to prominence by relying on certain subjects, but Mike Brody really stands out in the theme department. The Minneapolis funnyman is one of only a few working “paranormal comedians” — some of his best-known bits revolve around Ouija boards, succubi (demons that take on the form of women and seduce men in their sleep) and extraterrestrials — and, as if that weren’t distinctive enough, he’s also the go-to guy when the “Ghosts Hunters” crew needs a laugh.
Knowing this, we just needed to hit him up with a couple questions:
Budgeteer: I think it’s fascinating that you’ve worked so much paranormal material into your sets. What inspired this, and have you come across any other “paranormal comedians”?
Brody: I’ve always been into the paranormal my whole life — aliens, ghosts, anything strange or weird like that. So, when I started doing comedy and began writing more about what I know, it was just a natural progression. I’m a big music nerd, so I have a lot of jokes about music, too. Hopefully I won’t get into crochet. That would make for a boring set.
I’ve met one or two other comics that have incorporated the paranormal into their set or have a paranormal radio show.
What’s it like working with the “Ghost Hunters” crew? Have you been able to participate in any of their ghoul-searching excursions?
The “Ghost Hunters” people are great. They’re all really nice and fun to hang out with. They’re just people, same as anyone — except they get paid to be on TV and look for ghosts.
The two main guys, Jason (Hawes) and Grant (Wilson), have experience as plumbers, so they are also useful to have around. One time we were walking through a parking garage, and for whatever reason I decided to stick my hand out and catch a bunch of drops of water that were falling from a pipe. Then Jason comes up to me and goes, “You know that’s a sewer pipe, right?” I did not, in fact.
I’ve been on several ghost investigations with the folks from “Ghost Hunters.” It’s really cool to go with them when they’re off the clock. Because then I knew that they were sincerely into this and not just doing it for TV.
I read on your site that you got into comedy after watching a friend do stand-up. Had you ever toyed with the notion before that and ... is your friend still in the business?
Ha. No, that friend only ever did one set as far as I know. I’d never, ever even considered being a comedian before then. That just didn’t seem like a reality. I was always a quiet kid. I didn’t find out later that a good portion of comedians are that way.
But I grew up devouring stand-up shows in the ’80s and ’90s as a kid like MTV’s “Half Hour Comedy Hour,” A&E’s “Evening at the Improv” and “Comics on the Road.” I thought maybe I’d end up a writer, which I still enjoy doing quite a bit. But getting up on stage? Impossible.
Then I tried it on a whim and I was hooked and haven’t looked back since.
What is the comedy scene in the Twin Cities like? Who are some of your favorite people to perform with when you do hometown shows?
The Twin Cities comedy scene is one of the best in the country and has been for several decades. This is where Louie Anderson started. Then, after that, you have the Mystery Science Theater 3000 guys, who started in the stand-up scene.
When I started, there were several big cats in the local scene who were many years ahead of me who’ve moved on and are now getting recognition nationally, like Chad Daniels, Tracey Ashley and Andy Ritchie.
And now there are new people springing up who really have a lot of potential to make something of themselves, like Gabe Noah and Jon Wilson and a ton more.
Usually, if I’m allowed to pick my opener, I take my friend Cy Amundson on the road because he’s a really strong comic and does really well and it makes me have to work 10 times harder as a comedian. I like that challenge. It makes me a better comic every time.
I would say that New York and L.A. are the two big scenes in the country, of course. But after that there are a handful of vibrant local scenes that seem to continuously pump out top-notch comedians, like Minneapolis/St. Paul, Seattle, D.C. and Austin, Texas. In the age of the Internet, you don’t need to be from New York or L.A. to be seen anymore — although, eventually, all roads point there.
I’m very proud to be from the Twin Cities scene.
Finally, in this modern age, have any of your jokes about public figures — or, say, Fall Out Boy — landed you any flaming hate mail from upset fans who stumbled upon your videos on YouTube or anything?
I’ve never had anybody yell at me in person for a Fall Out Boy joke, probably because comedy shows are usually 18-plus or 21-plus. Maybe if I did all-ages shows?
But on YouTube, I’ve had some teenage girls say stuff like, “Oh, no, you didn’t just make fun of my boys! I’m gonna bitch-slap you!” I used to comment back, but now I just delete them. If you get too wrapped up in what people write on the Internet, you’ll go insane.
During a paranormal show, I had a woman tell me I shouldn’t joke about succubi because that’s serious stuff. I just kind of nodded and smiled on that one.
I have a video online of a guy having a seizure during my set. (He was fine.) That’s landed me some interesting comments.
NEWS TO USE
Comedy Pro Tour, featuring Mike Brody (of “Ghost Hunters” fame) and Cy Amundson, will be held at 6:30 and 9 p.m. Saturday, March 6, at Dubh Linn Irish Pub. Cost is $10. Reservations recommended; call 727-1559. Visit www.rooftopcomedy.com/mikebrody for clips from Brody’s set.
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