Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre

Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre has affordable, comedy shows seven nights a week in NYC and LA. Watch the best improv, sketch and standup in the country. Our original comedy video productions have garnered the national spotlight. We also run the first nationally accredited improv and sketch comedy school in the country. For information on our courses, visit the Training Center.

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Serial Optimist interviews Mookie Blaiklock

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Serial Optimist April 17, 2013
Loving The Genuine & Super Funny Michael Blaiklock
by Jazmine Hill

Michael Blaiklock is a funny guy from Massachusetts who you probably know best from playing Eli on “Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23”. But, what you may not know is that… well, you’ll have to read it to find out! He’s a genuinely good guy who really loves what he does. That’s totally the best kind of person! So, come on in, the water’s warm on this one. Enjoy!

Serial Optimist: Hey Michael! Thanks for talking to us! Let’s get into it. This is the most important question we’ll ask you, what’s your current favorite color and explain in a very poetic way why it’s your favorite!

Michael Blaiklock: Roses are Red

Violets are Blue

Green is my favorite color

Because that’s what color frogs are and frogs were my favorite animal as a kid

SO: What was growing up in Massachusetts like for you? Were you the funny guy everyone liked in school or the guy who had to be funny otherwise you’d get picked on?

Michael: I guess growing up in MA was good. I had friends, I didn’t die. I was the funny kid who most people liked in a “he’s harmless” sort of way. I didn’t get carried out of the classroom on anyone’s shoulders after a joke, but I also never got beat up or anything like that. I was definitely nerdy to an extent (FYI, I DID PLAY SPORTS), but I think my sense of humor saved me from being picked on in that I was willing to do anything crazy to make someone laugh. Like to an extreme extent. I was always overweight, but I’d ALWAYS take my shirt off if it made someone laugh. Or hit myself over the head with something, or eat something gross. I will still, to this day, go to extremes to get a laugh, and if I don’t get it, I will wear you down until I do. And while we’re on the subject, I always really hated it when “class clown” was just someone who talked back to the teachers. Right? I finally got voted “funniest” my senior year of high school, but I campaigned for it, like begged people to vote for me, and I am truly disgusted with myself for doing that.

SO: Class Clown should be the one who makes people laugh, not be jerks to teachers. And hey, you shouldn’t feel disgusted, it was a learning experience. Moving on, what draws you to sketch comedy?

Michael: Well the obvious first answer is SNL. Like most comedy nerds it was an obsession for me when I was younger. When I first got on a sketch troupe in college (Emerson College, go Lions division 3 sports!!!) and I performed a real “sketch,” like an originally written funny scene, it was amazing. I couldn’t believe I was doing sketches in front of an audience of people that were laughing (just like on SNL!!!). The other thing I love about sketch is that I’ve always loved acting. It’s just as much a passion of mine as comedy is, maybe more, so to be able to play a character and really “act,” in a sketch is so much fun to me and even challenging at times. My number one favorite thing in any sketch comedy is committed acting. Playing a character and going for it, no matter how silly the premise of the sketch itself is. I think it elevates the funny level of a sketch to HIGH on the high-low scale of funniness.

SO: Sounds like you really love it and that’s always nice to see someone doing what they love. Commitment to a sketch is really fun to see, is that also why you chose to do comedy? Or did comedy choose you?

Michael: WHO RESCUED WHO??? No but, seriously, that is a very funny yet thought provoking magnet I have on my refrigerator regarding my dog. To answer your question: I don’t know? I think I chose it? I’m not sure why or how, but I’ve always loved comedy and laughing and making people laugh and people who can make me laugh, but I’m not sure when that happened. I guess you could trace it back to why most people choose comedy, because they weren’t good looking so they needed something else to get people to like them. I suppose the real question is, are you born with funny, or is funny a choice? And if it is, in fact, a choice, should people who have chosen to be funny be allowed to marry other people who have chosen funniness, thus ruining the sanctity of comedy? (Parable)

SO: I think it’s a choice to release the funniness that is already in you. Think about that one. Changing subjects real quick, what’s the origin of your nickname “Mookie?”

Michael: There was a basketball player in the 90′s named Mookie Blaylock. My name is Michael BLAIKLOCK. My little league coach when I was 10 years old started calling me Mookie, then my team, then everyone, then EVERYONE. FUN FACT: Mookie Blaylock was the original name of Pearl Jam.

SO: Did not know that. You learn something new every day. Back to comedy, can you share one of your favorite UCB stories with us?

Michael: It’s very hard to think of one since there are so many. One memory that always sticks out to me was when my old sketch group, Hendershaw, did the preview show of our half-hour play that ended up running at the UCB for a few months. This had to be around 2008. It was our first shot at our own real show at UCB and there were a lot of people there and it killed. It was the first time I realized that we were really being embraced by the LA comedy community and that people actually thought we were funny. It was one of those after-show highs that has rarely been matched.

SO: Was moving to LA everything you expected? What’s something you experienced in the city of angels that totally caught you off guard?

Michael: I really hated LA when I first moved here. I was doing my last semester at Emerson in their LA program, and I was staying at the Oakwood Apartments in Toluca Lake, a fully-furnished, temporary housing complex for students, child actors in for pilot season, and Garrett Morris (there’s an amazing documentary on this place called “The Hollywood Complex” on Netflix). The novelty of living there wore off pretty quickly, and it didn’t feel like a home, just an extended hotel stay. I had also come from living in Boston for 4 years where I didn’t need a car to get around.  On top of all that I was broke. So I think my hatred had to do with the circumstances, but the good part was, I started doing comedy immediately with Hendershaw, and we got to know a lot of people, some of which we still know and are even working with today.  Once I got a real apartment and a day job and started getting to know more people, it didn’t feel like so much of a chore anymore to be living here. I love LA. Once in Burbank, after living here for like a month, I got a $120 jaywalking ticket.  THAT caught me off guard.

SO: What was it like playing the weird, weird, weirdo that was Eli on “Don’t Trust the B—- In Apartment 23?”

Michael: It was awesome. Great. The best. Such an amazing show to have been a part of, amazing cast, writers, creators, all around great experience. The best part for me, and this may be small but it meant a lot to me, was to book something that wasn’t specifically looking for an overweight person. I’ve since lost a good chunk of weight, but up to that point, I had done a lot of “fat goofball” parts, where I step in a bucket while running to ask someone who is very good looking why there wasn’t any dessert or something. It was a lot of fun to play this character and make him funny in other ways.

SO: Did you ever try to add in lines to the script? Did you have any say on what Eli’s story or actions would be?

Michael: My part on the show was pretty small, but I would pitch a joke here and there or improvise a little something on occasion. It wasn’t a “no improvising!” dictatorship, but the jokes were so tight that it served them best to be said as written. I did pitch something for the 2nd episode that made it in. I played a pervert on the show, and I was showing off my blow-up doll girlfriend, talking to her like she’s a real person, and at one point I started to talk about how we have differing political viewpoints, and I yell at this blow-up doll to “let me finish!” (Sounds hilarious written down like this, huh???) Anyways, I pitched it to (the amazingly incredible) Nahnatchka Khan, creator of the show, and she let me do it on set and it made it into the final cut of the episode and on TV! It was actually really thrilling for me, and some people told me that that line made them LOL (laugh out loud) so that was super cool. WGA will still not acknowledge me as a member, however.

SO: What’s wrong with WGA? They need to step up! Do you miss, not only working on the show, but watching it? Did you make any lasting friendships with any of the writers, cast, or crew?

Michael: Of course. It’s awesome to go to work when you have an awesome job, so I definitely miss it. And everyone was so amazing, cast, crew, writers, everyone. It was just so friendly. I hope every job is like that. As far as seeing it on TV, ABC has said that they are going to air the last 8 episodes sometime this summer. Who knows if that’s true, but that’s what I’ve heard. I’d say the person who misses watching it the most is my mom.

SO: Awww! What are you up to now? Anything you’d like the readers to know about you professionally or personally?

Michael: Professionally, stay tuned! Personally, I just got my bike fixed, so if you see me riding around town, please don’t honk at me as it will scare me and I will crash.

SO: Noted. So Michael, what’s something you want to happen in your life to make you never stop bragging about it?

Michael: I hate bragging, so it would have to be something pretty spectacular. Like I cure AIDS or something. I’d rub that shit right in your face. I’d also love to be interviewed by the Serial Optimist someday.

SO: Michael, start bragging!

(source)