Archives for posts with tag: Last Comic Standing
Mike DeStefano

Mike DeStefano

Stand-up comedian Mike DeStefano died last night after suffering a heart attack, Punchline Magazine reports today. He was 44 years old.

The Bronx-born comic, who was HIV positive and began his comedy career about a decade ago after overcoming drug addiction and the death of his wife, had begun to gain national mainstream success after finishing fourth out of thousands in the most recent season of Last Comic Standing. He was also scheduled to perform his new one-man show A Cherry Tree in the Bronx this Wednesday at the Barrow Street Theater in NYC. News of DeStefano’s death was confirmed to Punchline by a friend of the family.

“It is with a heavy heart that we announce the passing of a dear friend, a true gentleman, a great comic, and a fierce warrior, Mike DeStefano,” DeStefano’s rep said in a statement to TMZ today. “Mike had a lot of wisdom to share with the world from his own life lessons and he always did it with laughter and a smile. It’s hard to think that there won’t be any more ‘hey sweetheart’ calls, because Mike always made my day with his mix of kindness and warmth AND profanity filled rants against the wrongs of the world. He was the genuine article. We love you and will miss you, Mike.” Read the rest of this entry »

Mike DeStefano

Mike DeStefano

Substance abuse and AIDs are hilarious, right? Well, no, not usually. But for the past decade, stand-up comedian Mike DeStefano has crafted a career telling jokes about these hardships, and the other painful and tragic parts of life that we’re not supposed to laugh at. He’s not trying to make life any easier — just funnier.

DeStefano’s new one-man show, Drugs, Disease, and Death: A Comedy debuts this week at The Producers’ Club in New York City. It is an autobiographical story based on the comedian’s life in the Bronx, battling heroin addiction, losing his wife to AIDS, and simply struggling to survive.

“What I’m going to be talking about in Drugs, Disease and Death,” DeStefano reveals, “is death, disease, and drugs.” You might call him an expert on the subject. (In one joke, DeStefano explains: “I’m a stand up comic. Before that, I was a drug counselor. Before that, I was a drug addict. Before that? I was 12.”) Read the rest of this entry »

Myq Kaplan

Myq Kaplan

Stand-up comic Myq Kaplan has a knack for winning comedy contests: The rising comedian won NY’s Funniest Stand-Up Competition as part of the NY Comedy Festival, and “March Comedy Madness” at Carolines on Broadway. He was a finalist in the Boston Comedy Festival and Comedy Central’s “Open Mic Fights.” Earlier this year, Kaplan was given the “Emerging Comic Award” at NYC’s ECNY Awards. He has also performed on the New Faces show at the Just for Laughs Festival in Montreal, as well as Comedy Central’s Live at Gotham and Comedy Central Presents.

Which is why I think  Kaplan, one of five remaining finalists on the seventh season of the NBC reality competition series Last Comic Standing, has a good chance to win America’s vote and take home the title. The voting has now ended, and he has already outlasted hundreds of other funny people from Los Angeles, New York City, and between. But Kaplan’s toughest comptetition remains: fellow finalists Mike DeStefano, Roy Wood, Jr., Tommy Johnagin, and Felipe Esparza are all in contention to be named “Last Comic Standing.”

I spoke with Myq (pronounced “Mike”) Kaplan before the winner of Last Comic Standing is revealed in the finale episode on Monday night on NBC. Read our Q&A to learn more about Myq’s comedy career, his experiences on the show, and the other reality show he auditioned for before Last Comic Standing.

Are you surprised to be in the top five finalists on this season of Last Comic Standing? When you set out to audition, did you honestly think, “I can win this. I can be the ‘Last Comic Standing’?”

Myq Kaplan: I honestly, from the beginning, had no expectations, because I know that comedy is subjective. If you talked to me beforehand, I would have said: “I’m as optimistic as you can be. I’ve been doing stand up for seven or eight years, and I’m happy with what I’m doing, with the way my career and my creation have been going.” So I was as cautiously optimistic as possible.

The best part about every contest that I’ve been in is, if they’re run well – obviously only one person wins, officially – but you’re in front of managers, agents, booking types from clubs, TV shows, that type of thing. Those people are there and seeing you do well. Regardless of who the “winner” is, everyone there is talented, hard-working, and wins. Read the rest of this entry »

Rooftop Comedy Guest Editor Daniel Lehman

Rooftop Comedy Guest Editor: Daniel Lehman

Daniel Lehman is a writer and editor for the actors’ trade publication Back Stage, where he also writes about the New York City stand-up, sketch, and improv comedy scenes for and Blog Stage online. While not a performer himself, as a Casting Editor at Back Stage, Lehman works to find casting calls, open mic nights, and other performance opportunities for actors and comedians in New York and across the country. Comedians can find new comedy gigs every week in the pages of Back Stage and online at, or check out the Back Stage Facebook and Twitter pages for more, updated daily.

Click the links below to watch Daniel Lehman’s stand-up comedy video picks online at

Kumail Nanjiani: “Creation science fair

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Is any comedian having a better year than Kumail Nanjiani? He’s been called a rising “Comedian to Watch” by Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, and New York magazine, wrote and starred in Michael and Michael Have Issues on Comedy Central, performed on Letterman and The Colbert Report, hosted the Gotham Awards, was chosen for Comedy Central’s “Hot List,” toured his stand-up act, and is developing a sitcom pilot for NBC. Kumail deserves the acclaim, as a very funny comedian who takes the time to step back and enjoy the wonderment of our bizarre society.

Jackie Kashian: “The hilarity of men

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I am guilty of this crime, and I suspect Jackie got help from my girlfriend — whose patience I test every day with what she considers my increasingly “middle-aged dad-like” sense of humor — when writing this hilarious bit about being forced to laugh at her father’s lame jokes. After all, doesn’t the best comedy use a specific example to reveal a universal truth? Read the rest of this entry »