Mike Anderson visits with us this week. He is a reporter for KSL and a headlining comic who started in Florida and continues here.
We joyfully talk about past redheads, being a reporter and the local scene.
Describe yourself in 10 words or less?
Trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent. Too many words? Sorry bro. I like to break rules. I ain’t no freakin’ Boy Scout.
If you were an anchor instead of a reporter, what would be your catchy sign off ?
Thanks for watching, and keep watching. I don’t get paid if you just look at our stories on the internet, you filthy technology users!!
If you could criticize one President’s policies from the 1800s, which president would it be and why do you disagree?
Brigham Young. Polygamy is just wrong. Wait, are we talking US Presidents? Dang!
Exactly. I agree sir. I also see redheads and then ask myself “why?” You and I think alike.
Why did you start doing stand up comedy?
I remember seeing a stand up comic on TV when I was around six years old. It stuck with me and I had always wanted to try. While most of my friends at that age wanted to be a policeman or firefighter when they grew up, I wanted to be a comedian. Unfortunately, I wasn’t a very funny kid. I was always the “class clown wannabe.” Luckily that changed slightly as I got older.
Who are your biggest inspirations in comedy?
Earlier on, it was people like Bill Cosby, Ray Romano and Brian Regan. Those guys are still great. I’m also a fan of Jim Gaffigan, Mike Birbiglia, Gabriel Iglesias, Mark Curry, and so many others.
How long have you been doing comedy?
Most recently nine years. Although I also had a previous stint in stand up that started back when I was 17 years old. That lasted through my freshman year of college.
Who has been the biggest help for you in your comedy career?
Probably my wife. I can’t do this without her support, and for some reason she keeps supporting me. She even lets me tell jokes about her that are not true. She’s also great for testing new material. If she doesn’t laugh, it’s definitely not funny. I have disagreed with her in the past, only to learn the hard way that she’s right. If she does laugh, it might be funny.
What is the craziest experience you have had while reporting the news? What was the story?
Not sure if it’s the craziest, but the one that sticks out happened at a biker rally in Daytona Beach. I was introducing my story live for the 10pm news, when a woman, dressed in all leather came up behind me, and whipped my butt with what I’d describe as a miniature leather whip. It was dark, and she was in all black so you couldn’t see her on TV, but you could hear the loud SMACK!!! I froze for a second, assessed the situation, and just continued. Then she did it again. When we were finished, my camera guy walked up to her and said, “So I guess I’m next, huh?” and he just turned around and bent over. I learned something new about him that day.
What is the biggest story you have reported on?
Probably the Space Shuttle Columbia disaster. I was working for a station in Orlando, Florida at the time, and was their designated space reporter. I covered every shuttle launch, which was awesome. The Columbia thing was horrible. I’m not one of those guys who get a kick out of huge stories or tragedies. Honestly if I could do a quirky feature every day, I would. Those big stories still have to be covered though.
Have any of your reports went viral?
I did a story about how a pet goat named Voldemort chased a paperboy up a tree. It was a funny one, and got picked up by several websites and networks. The thing that really got people is Voldemort’s creepy growly thing he does at my camera. Anderson Cooper talked about it haunting his dreams on CNN. (link to my story below)
How much material have you been able to pull from experiences reporting the news?
You’d think that would be a bottomless well of material, but I’ve got nothing. I don’t know what it is. Maybe I take my job to seriously. There are a lot of things that happen in the business that I find funny, but most of it is “shoptalk” that wouldn’t make sense to people outside the business. Of course, there are the wacky and sometimes scary encounters I’ve had. Maybe I should start writing comedy material from work, but I haven’t done it yet, sorry.
What is one joke that you have done that has stood out or been a crowd favorite?
Oh, well there’s the one about how Mexicans sometimes think I’m Mexican, even though I’m half-Asian. One dude was like, “Don’t even speak Spanish, man? What kind of a beaner are you???”
I was like, “Uhhhh… Soybeaner?”
What are the differences and similarities between the Utah and Florida comedy scenes?
I started doing comedy in Jacksonville, Florida where we had a fairly small but tight-knit group of some great local comedians. While there were only a few clubs in the city, there were plenty within driving distance in Florida. Still, I think the learning opportunities have been much more plentiful in Utah. I think it’s interesting that the biggest club there, “The Comedy Zone” also had similar ground rules as “Wiseguys” when it comes to keeping material clean. I think it just forces good creative writing in those early stages.
What do you think of the local comedy scene? Good and bad?
Very good. Whether you stick to Wiseguys, like me, or hit some of the other venues there’s a lot of stage time available. It was also very hard to get in as a feature at my home club in Jacksonville, much less a headliner. There are also a lot more comedians in Utah than there were in FL, and as a result some really great ones too. I love that all the comedians here are friendly, and often hang out together. You don’t find that everywhere.
What would make it better?
Hard to say. I think the comedy scene is better here than a lot of places, even bigger cities from what I’ve heard. It would be nice if there were more actual comedy clubs just outside the area. Out East with the more dense populations, you don’t have to go as far out of your market to hit the next club. Sure, there are lots of one-nighter type bookings available at bars, but those aren’t the same.
What is one cool thing that is happening in the Utah Comedy scene that you are excited about?
I just love that it keeps growing. Wiseguys continues to do great things, keeping opportunities going for its comics. But there’s also the “Urban” or “Underground” scene as everyone calls it. If that’s your thing, there’s lots of opportunities there too. The most important thing for a learning comic is stage time. It’s great that we have lots of it here.
Who are some of the difference makers/favorites in the comedy scene? Why?
Sheesh. That’s a tough one. There are so many people that have taught me things, at all levels of experience. I think it’s great that people like; Todd Johnson, Ryan Hamilton, Bengt Washburn, and Marcus have all extended their talents beyond the Salt Lake scene. I’m probably leaving out a few. I think that shows people elsewhere that there is a strong scene in Utah, and some good talent coming out of here. As far as the hard-working local, less-known guys, there’s just too many to mention. People like; Steve Soelberg, Andy Gold, Guy Seidel, Jay Whittaker, Spencer King are all guys I look up to. There also several newer comics that are doing some pretty unique things that I think are just remarkable. Again, I’d hate to start listing and leave a bunch of people out.
What shows do you have coming up?
I’m at Wiseguys, Trolley Square this Friday and Saturday, December 6 & 7. Two shows each night at 7:30pm and 9:30pm. That’s about all I have at the moment.
How can people connect with you?
I’m on Twitter, as @mikeanders0n. That’s primarily a news account. I’m also pretty accessible through my Facebook account: https://www.facebook.com/