Ironically, the youngest name on this list is probably the most established too. Mike Lester started doing comedy at Acme Comedy Co.’s open mic night back in 2009, at the barely legal age of 18. “I went to the club for a couple of weeks before I finally went up, just trying to get the courage to try it,” he says of his baptism into comedy. “When I finally did it, I downed a Red Bull and probably got two laughs during my set, but it was enough to make me want to keep at it.”
After working on his craft for several months at Acme and other clubs in the area, Lester was invited to begin working as an emcee for regular shows at Acme. While his career was on the rise, Lester says that he had to learn an important comedy lesson the hard way.
“In 2011, I was in the finals of the comedy contest at House of Comedy,” he recalls. “I had done really well with my set in the first rounds, and hadn’t worked on anything new before the finals. I went up unprepared and just completely bombed in front of like 300 people.”
While the experience was humbling, Lester says it motivated him to continue growing.
“You can’t get complacent,” he says. “The only way to get better is to keep at it, whether that means doing open mics or just getting on as many shows as I can.”
Recently he made the leap to feature performer, but doesn’t plan to slow down.
“I don’t want to lose track of the open mic scene,” he says. “Some people stop going to open mics or stop trying to help other people out on the scene, and that’s not what I want. I’ve always been someone who sets weekly goals; I’m neurotic like that. But it’s the only way to keep getting better.”
“Home Club” – Acme Comedy Co.
“It’s hard because there are so many places to get stage time, but since Acme is where I started that’s always going to be the place I consider my home club.”
Where You Can See Him Next
January 17–18 at New Hope Cinema Grill; Acme Open Mic every Monday.