Comedian Mike Lawrence is certainly making his presence felt in 2013. His debut album ‘Sadamantium’ dropped on the 28th, and tonight he hosts the premiere party for his debut The Half Hour on Comedy Central at the Creek and the Cave at midnight. I caught up with Mike to discuss the struggles of being a young comic and if blogger criticism is good for the industry.
AC) What is the meaning of ‘sadamantium?’
ML) Adamantium is the metal that Wolverine’s claws are made out of, and I’m really depressing. It’s a pun, that’s it. I spent a long time thinking of different album titles, mostly comic related, like ‘Unstable Molecules and Infinite Crisis,’ and none of them were funny on their own, and this one kind of is. The whole idea of me as wolverine on the cover, I just thought ‘this is awesome.’
AC) What’s the process like of growing as a comedian and then putting together an album?
ML) The process was getting rejected and not getting booked and then doing a ton of open mics and awful, awful shows until they slightly got better and I slightly got funnier. Flash forward to now and having done a few TV appearances and it just seemed like the right time to do an album.
AC) When did you decide to record the album?
ML) I think that was the thought in doing the half hour for TV. Here’s the main thing: I think you’re ready to do an album when someone tells you that you are and when someone’s willing to make it. I did not want to be one of those dudes who self-releases and the album art looks like something you’d see at the Make-Your-Own T-shirt Store. Definitely having Comedy Central say ‘let’s do this thing,’ that was obviously what I needed. If they believe in me that lets me believe in me.
AC) How do you feel about members of the audience blogging their criticism when they don’t like a joke?
ML) I’ve been thinking about this a lot and going back and forth and I think the conclusion that I’ve come to is that I believe that criticism and commentary are valid for any art form, and I don’t think that comedy should be immune to criticism. Often times comics are bullies themselves and children and we get afraid and all that. The reality is, you know, we’ll often say ‘if you don’t like it, just leave,’ but that person just spent 50 dollars. If you look at an audience of 100 people, at least 40 or 50 of them went because someone else wanted to go, you know? So they’re kind of stuck there. I just think the criticism is good, it’s valid. People can Yelp review restaurants, they can go on Amazon and write customer reviews. Why would we be immune to that? We’re not and we shouldn’t be. I don’t understand why us as comics have to get so defensive. I think often times when people are like ‘But it’s COMEDY,’ it’s not a blanket defense for everything. You can’t just say that all the time. It’s also interesting because what comics often say in defense is ‘yeah, but it’s funny.’ There still has to be some kind of accountability, too. I don’t think that it’s a censorship issue, I think that it’s an empathy issue. Realize your words do have power. Your jokes do make a difference and they can make people feel terrible about themselves.
Catch Mike Lawrence’s album release and Comedy Central Half Hour viewing party at the Creek and the Cave tonight. 10pm