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The Man Who Made Mel Brooks Laugh: Recovery Comic Greg M.
Recovery Comedians, Comics Anonymous, Recovery Comedy, Recovery Comic, Clean and Sober Comedy
Comic for Recovery Greg Mills

Greg M. has appeared on stage, screen and at corporate events for the last 15 years. He’s a veteran of the legendary Second City comedy theater, and as a stand-up, has been featured at Chicago clubs including Zanies, Red Bar and the Improv.

Greg’s a commercial actor too - with multiple TV spots and a long list of voiceovers to his credit. And not too long ago, Greg was seen in Michael Keaton’s feature film directing debut, The Merry Gentleman.

In addition to performing, Greg has written for Martin Short’s Prime Time Glick
on Comedy Central, and is a freelance copywriter, having worked on national campaigns for KFC and Kmart. He’s also been a contributor to NPR’s “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell me” web site.

Recovery Comedy: What were you like as a kid? 

Greg M: Pretty normal. I don’t recall being notably spazzy or attention-seeking.

Recovery Comedy: What made you decide to become a stand-up comedian and how long have you been performing? 

Greg M: I did stand-up the first time in high school for a talent show. It was actually a duo. My best friend and I sewed together two sweaters and performed as a Siamese twin act. He was a foot taller than me.   In college, I joined a sketch comedy troupe. (Ironically, named “Fresh From Detox”). I wrote and performed sketches, but there were also stand-up slots sprinkled throughout the show and I was usually one of them. Shortly afterward, I started getting paying gigs and have worked as a stand-up, actor, improviser or writer - full time for the last 15 years or so. I did however, take some time off from stand up when I first got sober.   Let’s just say I needed to be a little more “spiritually fit” before going back into clubs and bars.

Recovery Comedy: Does your comedy have a message and if so what is it? 

Greg M: Laugh at me. Please, dear God, laugh at me. Fulfill me, at least temporarily.”

Okay seriously. In terms of recovery material, it’s being rigorously, rigorously honest – saying things that are on everybody’s’ minds, but few people say. I mean, when someone holds a meeting hostage with a 17-minute comment, let’s be honest, not everybody’s heart is filled with “love and tolerance”. We’re human. I have a bit about how people say: “group conscious” instead of “group conscience”. It’s a teeny thing, but it bugs the crap out of me.

The other thing is, recovery can be raw and uncomfortable sometimes. And that’s okay. I’ve found in certain circles of recovery, there’s this weird pressure to act like everything’s okay; that once you hit the rooms, all discomfort and anxiety should be magically lifted.   That’s not my experience. Even after some decent sober-time, I’m still triggered, irked and confused. I think people relate to and laugh at that.

Recovery Comedy: Who are your comedy idols? 

Greg M:  Hmm. Although not “idol” status, I’d say some early influences would have to be Mad magazine, SNL from the ‘80’s, and honestly, Looney Tunes – which probably taught me basic Vaudevillian set up / punch structure.   In recent years, stand ups like Maria Bamford, Mike Birbiglia and Marc Maron have informed and entertained.

Recovery Comedy: Where does your inspiration for material come from? 

Greg M: Everyday stuff, relationships, news… Things that get stuck in my craw - both in recovery and out.

Recovery Comedy: Is your family supportive of your comedy career?

Greg M: I think so. I mean, I haven’t really talked to them since they threw me out 20 years ago for practicing the “devil’s art”.

Recovery Comedy: Is comedy part of your healing process? 

Greg M: Yes, I once broke my femur in 6 places. Horribly painful, potentially crippling. THAT night I did a 15-minute set and walked home, good as new.

Okay, for real? Gosh, “healing process” sounds pretty dramatic. But in a sense, yeah.

It’s like what they say in recovery - that when you say something out loud - that dynamic unto itself - relieves some of the anxiety. When I talk comedically about something uncomfortable on stage and people laugh out of recognition, nod their heads… I feel related-to, less alone. Sure.

I guess that’s kind of healing, right?

Recovery Comedy: What is your kryptonite? 


Greg M: The usual: Scathing voices in my head of fear of judgment. Envy. Fresh, gooey donuts.

Recovery Comedy: What was your worst experience performing comedy? 

Greg M: C’mon, I’m an over-sensitive alkie / addict- any time a joke doesn’t kill, it’s the worst thing that ever happened to me. Let’s see, if I had to answer… I don’t know if this is the absolute worst, but looking back, it’s pretty funny. In college, I got my first “high-paying corporate gig”. (It was probably only like $150, but that was a bank-breaker to me then.) Anyway, it was the annual big to-do for this local exterminator company. They rented a banquet hall and hired me to do like 20 minutes. I step up, this 18 year old, infused with confidence from cracking up beer-swilling college kids at my weekly sketch shows. I start busting out my absurdist, stoner humor to a few hundred silent stares and the awkward, intermittent cough. Hoping my “customized material” might get things back on track, I made the hilarious assertion that “when you think about it, you guys are like real life ghostbusters!”. They didn’t quite seem to buy into that insight - so to hammer it home, I launched into an acapella parody of the Ghostbusters song, with exterminator lyrics.

Deafening silence.

I finished, wolfed down my free meal, got the check and ran out. Good times.

Recovery Comedy: What was your best experience performing comedy?

Greg M: Not necessarily “performing”, but certainly comedy related… I wrote for Martin Short’s Primetime Glick and gave him a batch of jokes for his Mel Brooks interview. I was there in person to see the interview being taped and watched as one of the lines I wrote, broke Mr. Brooks on camera.   Then I got to meet him afterwards.

Recovery Comedy: What is your comedy dream?

Greg M: I think it already happened (see above).

To find out more information about Greg M. or to book him for your next Recovery Event just click here!

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