I caught up with Mike right after he returned from New York, filming a segment on Comedy Central’s “Live At Gotham” comedy series. I can remember seeing him perform at an open mic at Pepper Belly’s comedy club in Fairfield in 2004. You could see then, as you can now, that he has a natural comedy talent and great timing. I asked him if he was always this freaking funny.
He winced. “Seven years ago, I got on the stage at Laughs Unlimited during for an open mic and totally bombed. Not just bombed, but went down in flames,” he continues, “I had no material. I just went up on stage and thought I could tell a joke or two and be funny. I was very bad and I just wanted to cry!” That was his first and last appearance for three years. “But, I knew I could do better.” he admitted, “so I came came again three years later. I was better than before, not great mind you, but this time I actually wrote something. I had five full minutes of material!”
Mike’s first paid gig came shortly after that in Medford Oregon while on the road with fellow Sacramento comedian Del Van Dyke. “I only performed for 12 minutes but it felt like an hour.” Mike said and then gave me his huge toothy grin, “I also found out what plays in Sacramento doesn’t necessarily play in Oregon.”
A lot has happened for Sacramento’s very fast rising comic star. Since those days on the road, Mike has on TV’s “Comics Unleashed” with Byron Allen, “Comics Without Borders” on Showtime, finished filming and is currently wrapping up negotiations for a 30 minute comedy special for the Showtime Network.
When I asked what he would consider his biggest thrill in comedy so far, he grinned ear to ear (not hard if you are Mike Winfield) and said, “I was approached at the Las Vegas Comedy Festival by MADtv comedian Bobby Lee and was offered a job on the spot to film a Comedy Central pilot called “The Bobby Lee Project”. Two weeks later he was recording the pilot getting a paycheck. When asked about the pilot, he sighed and said he didn’t expect it to reach the air.
For the last four years, Mike has performed at all the comedy clubs and rooms in the local area. He has just completed headlining at the famous Purple Onion Comedy Club in San Francisco, often appears at The Improv in Miami and Kentucky and at his hometown in Baltimore for the Baltimore Comedy Factory.
I asked Mike when he was going to perform locally and again he just smiled his big toothy grin and said, “I am headlining at Punchline in Sacramento for one night only on September 10th.” “I want to thank Sacramento for all of your support over the years.”
When I asked Mike what his ultimate goal was, he said simply, “I want to spread my joy and my goodness to the world through my performance. I want people to come away smiling and happily feeling the joy that I feel…. That, a sitcom and a couple of movies and I will be happy.
Catch him while you can Sacramento, Mike D. Winfield is about to become a superstar.
About the Author: Steven Bloom is Founder/Publisher of AmericasComedy.Com. He is pursuing his dream of laughing every day and associating with some of the most creative people in the entertainment industry. Steven@AmericasComedy.Com