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Mark Ridley: King of the Comedy Castle

Here’s my first interaction with Mark Ridley.  My tenth show was the open mic at the Comedy Castle in March of the year I started.  I didn’t get back on stage again there until eight months later.  For months and months I was convinced I did something to upset Mark and that was why I wasn’t invited back.  Finally in November I built up the courage to talk to him face to face.  I told him my concern.  He laughed and showed me the humongous list of people who call in every week to go on stage.  He assured me that I was fine and then he put me on stage again that following week.  From day one for me, Mark Ridley has been a class act!

Over the years he’s done so many things for me.  He let me and photographer Trever Long shoot my most recent headshots inside the Castle.  My Desperate Houseguys performed there a handful of times for special events.  Last month we shot the opening sequence of Deadpan there with a full cast and crew along with thirty extras!  Most importantly, he’s been a friend and a mentor.  Mark is a straight shooter.  It was a pleasure sitting down with him and talk about the business and the Laugh Detroit Comedy Festival which kicks off tomorrow with David Alan Grier.

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Bill Bushart

Every comedian in Michigan knows who Bill Bushart is.  He is the Godfather of our comedy scene.  He’s mentored either officially or unofficially just about every one of us at one point in time or another.  Not only is he a phenomenal comedian who takes charge of a room like no other, he’s also the Marketing Director at Joey’s Comedy Club in Livonia.  There are two vastly different sides to Bill’s persona.  There’s the on stage Pitbull who owns a comedy show and then there’s the St. Bernard who will make sure you are safe on your journey.

Photo by Trever Long

Off stage, Bill is the person I try to model myself after.  When a newer guy comments that I’m considered one of the nicer people in the scene, I merely tell them that I’m just returning the favor that Bill did for me.   And honestly, I wasn’t always this nice.  I’d shit on newer guys and Bill would call me on it reminding me that he remembers when I sucked.  Bill not only is a great comedian, but also a great human.

I sat down with Bill before one of the shows at Joey’s Comedy Club.  If you only know him from his act, this look into the man behind “Uncle Billy” may surprise you.  Now go pick up your hair.

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