Stand-Up Comedian

Stand-Up Comedian

Michael Kosta

Los Angeles, CA

Male, 30s

I'm Michael Kosta, stand-up comedian (yes, that's what I write on my tax returns). I've performed on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Conan, and Comedy Central, and I tour all over North America and Australia. Ask me anything about life as a stand-up.

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Last Answer on June 11, 2013

Best Rated

When you write new jokes, do you do any research to see if they've been done before? With so many comedians out there, I'll bet it's hard to come up with anything nowadays that hasn't already been touched upon...

Asked by Front-row cackles... over 11 years ago

If I write something that I think is too good to be true, too simple and obvious, I may quickly google the idea and see what comes up, but that doesn't happen very often. Very rarely do I write soemthing like that :) I'm not to concerned about my jokes being unique because if you write through your own personality, own point of view, they will be compltely unique and authentic to you. Even if someone gave me and you the same topic, call it "pay phones" we'd both probably write jokes that were very different and the ones that were the same, would be too obvious and not funny, most likely. The best solution is to write about YOURSELF. Just like our 1st grade teacher taught us, we are all special one of a kind snow flakes, so take advantage of that. Oh also, if you are performing a joke and 2 or 3 comedians come up to you and say "Yo, that joke is a lot like so and so's" joke... well then, you drop it. That's the deal.

As a comedian, what is your ultimate endgame? Do you have a goal, like to have your own TV show (e.g. Louis C.K.), become a star (e.g. Eddie Murphy, Steve Martin), or a career stand-up (Carlin)? Or do you just love what you do and will wait and see?

Asked by curious almost 12 years ago

I defintely love what I do. Making people laugh is so fun and its a great feeling to see someone's face go from normal to laughing. I think I'll be happy as long as I am doing that, or trying to do that. Stand up is defintely one way to acheive that. The road is long and hard and can be a grind. I will always go on the road because I love to travel and meet new people and perform for new audiences, but I would like to have my own tv show or host a late night type talk show. Hosting is something I have always liked more than acting but I'll take whatever they will give me. You got any good leads?!?!

You're not the first comic I've heard rip on Jeff Dunham -- why don't comics seem to respect him? Is it because he's not a "pure" stand-up?

Asked by gorlock over 11 years ago

Did I rip him? Oh well that's not good. I like to be positive. I believe what I said was "Jeff Dunam was the highest paid comedian a few years ago with $35 million. Yes, a guy who talks out of his side of the mouth with puppets made $35 million one year." Maybe there are comics who respect him, I certainly dont love his comedy, but guess what? I'm sure he sleeps just fine at night. Comics like 'pure" stand up comics. I'm not saying its right or wrong but comics like and respect comedians who don't use sound cues, props, gimmicks, etc. That being said, I have used all of those. Its probably because he made $35 million last year.

What’s the typical cut for a comedian's manager?

Asked by ljenkins almost 12 years ago

Managers get 10%, Agents 10%, lawyers 5% I dont have a publicist but a lot of comics do and they would need to get paid also.

Have you ever turned down a high-paying tour slot because the other comics were too hacky?

Asked by ginny almost 12 years ago

Hell no! As long as I'm not hacky I'm very comfortable performing for high money :) One thing I do like to check a club or theaters website to see what other comics they are booking. If there is a lot of crap on there, then I don't get as excited to perform or I ask for more $. The clubs that book quality acts, as the ones that are usually the favorites of the comics and vice versa.

I am a big fan of stand up and notice comedians use the same material over and over. Does it ever get monotonous saying the things every night? Also I think I secretly want to be a comedian although I'm snowballing towards middle age.

Asked by beemo63 about 11 years ago

how many questions are you asking?  Is the last sentence a question? Are you drunk?

It can get monotonus doing the same jokes over and over again, but hearing them laugh doesnt.  Older jokes are more polished and stronger.  Newer jokes can be more fun to perform because they are newer and fresher ideas but often times they are unpredictable and lack polish or strength.

I try to mix it up but if the audience is tough or I feel like the new jokes aren't working I will go back to a bit that I've been doing a while.

As far as your last sentence, I don't know what that means.  If you want to do comedy, do it.  There is no age requirement.  Its not a sport.  Just sign up.  Or don't.  I don't give a shit.

When you're not performing, do the people around you expect you to be funny 24/7 because of what you do for a living?

Asked by Delirious about 11 years ago

Ha! I hope not! Sometimes I'll run into people who were at my show and I can tell they want me to be funny , or they try to crack a lot of jokes to me, that is so fucking annoying. Lots of times, once I tell someone I am a comedian, they try to tell joke after joke. For whatever reason this happens at a lot of hotel front desks. I have to tell them why I am in town and then they start zinging jokes at me. The people that know me best know that I am not capable or nor do I want to be funny all the time. There is nothing worse than a comedian who is always "on".