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Interview with Recovery Comedian Mick Diflo
Recovery Comedians, Comics Anonymous, Recovery Comedy, Recovery Comic, Clean and Sober Comedy

Originally from Philadelphia, Mick's comedy career started with the sketch-group, Hazmat. When the group broke up in 2001 Mick moved to New York City, where he began his stand-up career.

His dark, skewed way of looking at addiction, relationships, and life in general has made him a favorite at clubs everywhere. Mick is also a contributing writer to The Complete Idiot's Guide to Jokes and Jest Magazine.

Recovery Comedy:  What were you like as a kid?

Mick DifloI was quiet as a kid unless I was familiar with people. Raised with an angry parent (Mom) & kind of guarded. Great grades in school, pretty good kid till about 4th grade, when I started hangin out with a 'bad element' & drinking, sniffing glue, etc. Back in the 60s & close with my older cousins, who were hippies. That was a great time - I'd found 'the answer' & life was great.

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

Mick DifloI always wanted to make people laugh & usually could, but never thought I could do standup. I figured maybe I could be a comedic-actor. When I was clean about 8 years I started thinkin, "Wow - I'm gonna wake up some day age 60 & wish I'd done something about it. I got into an acting class, got in about 20 plays, some comedic. Eventually some of the class formed a sketch-group & they asked me to be in it. We performed monthly shows (written sketches) & after a couple years began to break up, although we still did an occasional show. I'd moved to NYC to act/maybe get in another sketch-group & the old group (Hazmat) would come up to NYC & do a sketch or 2 at comedy clubs. We were scheduled to perform at a club & the group couldn't make it that night & the booker said, "Why don't you do it yourself? It's 6 minutes." I said no, then called back & said yes; had a good set & have kept at it ever since. 8 years.

Recovery ComedyWere you performing stand-up comedy before you got into recovery?

Mick DifloNever performed standup before recovery. Always thought like a comic, though, & loved makin people laugh.

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

Mick DifloNo message, really. Maybe that you can find humor in the bleakest situations, which stems from growing up in a dark-humor household. My humor's not really 'dark' to me.

Recovery Comedy:  Who are your comedy idols?

Mick DifloAll the greats - Carlin; Kinison. I'm a Stern-fan & although not a stand-up, he's very quick & can be funny. I grew up hearing Jackie Vernon, who was one of the few back then that made me actually laugh. I'm not a great audience & very few make me laugh....Andy Kindler's good.

Recovery ComedyWhat is the difference between a recovery show and a normie show?

Mick DifloIn a recovery-show I can do more material because no 'normal' audience is gonna relate to some of the specific situations/feelings addicts can. I also think that through open sharing at meetings we're more open-minded than a regular audience.

Recovery ComedyWhere does your inspiration for material come from?

Mick DifloInspiration for me comes from anywhere, any time. I know people who can just sit & write about a subject, but mine has to hit me by surprise usually. I always carry a pen because it's usually on a bus, walking down the street, at work & something will hit me & I'd better write it down. My inspiration usually comes from an odd occurrence. I also read the paper every day looking for possible jokes.

Recovery ComedyWhat is your joke writing process?

Mick DifloMy process is usually to jot down an idea if I think something's funny & then try to figure out why; then how to put it succinctly....maybe add a few tags to it. I then try it out at several open mics (usually about 5 a week). If I think it's ready for a show I'll add it to the set.

Recovery ComedyWhat is your kryptonite?

Mick DifloKryptonite for me (if I understand the question correctly) is a group that just doesn't 'get me' or maybe just has a different sense of humor. Very creepy feeling & I can't blame the audience. It's rare now, but if a group doesn't like the darker stuff - which most of mine is - I can change to a few lighter jokes. Not my preference, though.

Recovery Comedy:  Is comedy part of your healing process?

Mick DifloNot consciously, but it's always been the first place I go in bad situations. Both my parents died in the same month back in '88 & as odd as it sounds, my brothers & I had a blast with the whole situation. I even got a joke from it: "My mother died, so I went to live with my dad because he wasn't doing so well, & he died a month later. My family wasn't crazy about the message I left on the answering machine: "Hi, this is Mick. I'm not here right now & everyone else is dead. You can leave a message at the beep, but maybe you haven't been listening....."

Recovery Comedy:  What was your worst experience performing comedy?

Mick DifloWorst experience - I was given one of my first paying-gigs as an MC, which I had no experience in at all & the crowd was older - there was a group of older women (70s?) who all had blue hats on. I asked someone who they were & he said, "That's the blue-hat club." I said, "What do they do?" He said, "They get together, go to shows, stuff like that." Imagine wanting Henny Youngman & getting Mick Diflo. It wasn't pretty.

Recovery Comedy:  What was your best experience performing comedy?

Mick DifloBest comedy experience - I've had a few - getting passed at Gotham Comedy Club was great; I've done Caroline's 'Breaking Artist' series. I've also done some N.A. shows that were a blast. The fact that I'm doing it at all is a constant high-point, really.

Recovery ComedyWhat is your comedy dream?

Mick DifloI guess the dream would be a sitcom. I have enough of a history (ex-pro fighter, ex-addiction counselor, etc.) to provide a lot of situations.

Recovery Comedy:   Thanks Mick, that is quite a history, I hope we get to learn more by watching your sitcom.  Good luck with everything you are doing!

To find out more information about Mick Diflo or to book him for your next 12 Step Convention just click here!

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