Comedy writer highlight: Mike Capozzola
Updated: Sep 24, 2022
Mike Capozzola (website here; IMDB here) is a New York-raised, London-based comedian and actor/ host. Since the late 20th Century, he's performed at clubs, colleges and theatres in much of America as well as Canada, England, Scotland, Ireland, Switzerland, Poland, Holland, Belgium, France, Germany, Hungary, Bulgaria, Romania, Luxembourg, Spain, Denmark, Dubai, Israel, Turkey, Wales and the Czech Republic. Mike played the ‘Veteran MiB Agent’ in "Men in Black International." (Other appearances include “Locked Up Abroad”, "The Phantom of the Open", and Amazon’s upcoming sci-fi spy series, "Citadel”.) He’s got several upcoming shows throughout Europe through October, then will be in the U.S. in November.
Below, we made him answer five short questions.
You located a few years ago to the UK from San Francisco. What do the Brits like / dislike about your standup?
I think the mere fact that my voice is not immediately a UK voice gets their full attention on a tribal level. From there it’s up to me to make them laugh, but at least they’re facing forward and the ears are tuned to the sound of a stranger among them.
I was given advice early on: "They’ve heard all of the fish-out-of-water material before. Don’t bother with anything about the culture differences. It’s all been done...“ This person was absolutely right, but I took it as a challenge and tried to go around all that and find something new, and I think that’s what’s resonated so far.
You started in Hollywood in the fourth grade. Have you ever given a backstory to one of your characters and incorporated it on the screen?
Being an extra in a motion picture in New York City in fourth grade in 1979 is not exactly Hollywood, but thanks.
I don’t bother with the backstory. None of the roles so far have required that much thought. But I often give a silly, mocking backstory whenever I'm in a 30-second commercial.
Side note, here’s a (non) fun fact about me: My scene in “The Batman” was cut, but I can still be seen for almost :01 in silhouette! You are also a cartoonist. What is the dream comic strip or animated cartoon/film you’d love to create and syndicate?
I would absolutely love to animate two strips that I’ve done!
1) "Peanus Feathuring Chubby Browne" for sure. He's sort of the physical, phallus-headed manifestation of everything bad about guys today but in a charming and disarming fashion. He didn’t get the memo about the tonal shift...
2) "Doctor Quince, Pt Medicine Woman'' started as a weekly newspaper ad for a medical marijuana shop in Northern California. It was a blast to write and draw, but once recreational pot became legalized there was really no reason to advertise. People knew what they wanted, and they knew where to find it.
How did you come up with your best joke?
Whatever constitutes “my best joke” changes from day to day (technically it should be near the front or back of the set, to establish yourself OR end on a strong note, as you know). But it's funny - a longtime friend of mine mentioned a bit that I had dropped long ago and had forgotten. He told me, “That’s my favorite bit!,” and since then, I revisit it from time to time. An older bit shouldn’t be discounted.
Describe your comedy writing process.
I started out writing jokes short enough that they fit on index cards – I outlined the set up and punchline.
It’s evolved a bit now. I have zero interest in using the stage to whine - I’m an entertainer.
Photography: Rory Lewis (first photo).