Mike Rainey has developed himself a reputation as one of Philly’s most brutal comics, as well as one of the quickest on his feet. He can be seen monthly with his segment Story Time with Mike Rainey at Chip Chantry’s One Man Show (with Special Guests).
How and why did you get into comedy?
I thought I was funny but didn’t have the balls to perform. Then, I saw Jim Norton and was blown away by the fact that someone could make me laugh for an hour straight. I soon after started writing jokes but still couldn’t work up the nerve to perform. I then went to see the band Tool perform and there was a moment where the lead singer, Maynard James Keenan, just spoke to the crowd while the band played softly in the background. I just remember him saying the words “take risks” and I felt like I had been punched in the chest. At that point, my mind was made up and I was finally going to do it. One of the reasons why I love performing comedy is that I always get so nervous before a show that I either throw up or have diarrhea.
How would you describe your style as a comedian? What influences and factors do you think contribute to that?
I’ve been predominantly set up / punchline from day one, mostly about current events or nonsense that I made up. Lately though, I’ve been working on bits that are more personal and just trying to grow out of what I’ve relied upon up until this point.
Do you have a favorite show or venue you like to perform at? What about it makes it fun or special for you?
My favorite venue is The Shubin Theatre (Philly Improv Theater). Almost always a packed house and it is intimate enough as to where I can perform without a mic, which I prefer. As a performer, the most you can hope for out of an audience is for them to be willing to listen. The rest is up to you. The Shubin always allows that.
Continue reading TEN QUESTIONS WITH… Mike Rainey
This Week: HAVE FUN.
That’s it. Those two words. That’s what you’ll hear me say to you just before you take the stage, if we are ever hanging out in the green room, or the back of the bar, or, let’s face it, seven feet from the area that the assistant manager at Applebee’s cleared out next to the servers’ station for that new 6PM Sunday open mic that we are dropping by. HAVE FUN.
That’s been my mantra for as long as I can remember. It’s unclear when I started saying it to other comics before their sets. Most likely it came after someone said it to me one night. It’s clear, concise; it’s a positive message. Moreover, it gets right to the very spirit of why Jonas Salk invented standup comedy over 15 years ago. Having fun is what it’s all about.
The unfortunate thing is, I often don’t take my own advice.
I’m tired. I’m angry. I’m insecure. (Which makes me no different from any other comedian I know). I walk into a showroom and I immediately size up the crowd. This generally involves me scanning the room for bachelorette parties, boyfriends with something to prove, hipsters who are trying to pretend that they don’t want to be there, and women on their cell phones. Then I get angrier, tireder, and insecurererer. And as soon as that chip is placed square on my shoulder, I saunter onstage and spin delightful tales about my dead grandmother.
Being onstage is a blur; it’s forgettable.
Continue reading PREACHING TO THE CHOIR with Chip Chantry
Starting next month, The Famous International Variety Show, formerly at the Copabanana on 40th Street, returns to Sunday nights at Connie’s Ric Rac. This would mark another addition to the ever-expanding comedy line-up at the Ric Rac. Hosted by Darryl Charles, James Hesky, and Mykal Carter Jackson, the mic starts back up on February 13th at 7PM, 1132 S. 9th St.
Also, rumor has it that a new Monday open mic will come to the Fairmount area starting in March. This would be on top of the existing Monday open mic, Comedy on the Grille. More on that when the details come.