Michael Palascak is a comedian who grew up in Wabash, Ind., began his career in Chicago and now lives in Los Angeles. He has appeared on all the late night shows and has his own Comedy Central half-hour special.
Michael also was a Top 5 Finalist on Last Comic Standing and has his own Internet show where he looks on the bright side of things most people consider negative — like pollution, traffic or losing your job.
Michael took the time to answer 5 Questions from Louisville Laughs.
Louisville Laughs: You have performed on all the late night network shows from Stephen Colbert to Jay Leno. What was the best experience?
Michael Palascak: First off, performing stand-up on late night network television is one of the top experiences of my life ever. Performing 5 minutes in front of a live studio audience that will air for everyone in the country that has a television is fun on all the shows and every one of my experiences was special in it’s own way.
The Tonight Show with Jay Leno was my debut, and Jay was very interactive — he met me before the show and took pictures with my family. He gave me a watch.
The Late Show with David Letterman was my second, and so I was relaxed. I felt like I enjoyed the whole thing a lot. Doing stand-up in New York City is really special, and so it was a lot of fun warming up the set at The Comic Strip the night before. And then Ed Sullivan Theater and Letterrman’s show are so iconic.
The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson and The Late Late Show with James Corden are the ones I’ve done the most in that theater, and it’s really special because it’s so intimate and I’ve gone back there the most.
The crowd is right there and they’re great. And I live close by and they send a car to pick you up. It’s really cool.
Before my set James asked the crowd to really be a good crowd and that makes all the difference. Conan was amazing because he was the cool, young guy that everybody liked when I was in college and he was very nice, too.
And Lilly Singh was super fun because they had such a different fun show and I was one of the first batch of comics to do the show and Lilly was great.
And Colbert was great for some of the same reasons Letterman was — Ed Sullivan, NYC, iconic. And I still love hearing him introduce me on the YouTube clip.
You are described as a “likable” comedian. How does that help you engage with the audience, and are there ways for comics to be more likable?
I just do my best to be a good comedian.
What is your comedy horror story?
I think the only comedy horror story I would’ve had is if I hadn’t ever done stand-up or if I had quit or something. There have been for sure moments that someone watching might think would be really hard for me to get through or experience, but I really am grateful for it all and have enjoyed all of the experiences for what they were.
I used to do greenskeeping at a cemetery. I worked 60 hour weeks on a blistering hot metal machine at a car factory in rural Indiana. Stand-up comedy is a privilege and a joy.
You have more than a million views on YouTube. What’s the key to getting people to watch your comedy videos?
All those views came from my Comedy Central half hour, Colbert, Conan, and my Dry Bar special. So I just got material on channels that already have a huge following.
You released a new comedy album and a Dry Bar special this year. You must have kept busy during the pandemic.
I recorded both before March of 2020 and then it takes a little while to get them edited and deliverable. I did, however, shoot a web series about 90% by myself out of my apartment during the pandemic called The Bright Side.
It was really fun to make and it’s really funny. It’s a show where I take things that normally people find negative or bad — Ghosting, Traffic, Losing Your Job, Dictators — and I attempt to find the positive.
Here’s a link to all of them.
You can find more of Michael’s videos here.