Mike Player is a comedy writer, actor, and author. He is the founder of 3 comedy groups; “Shock of the Funny” in New York, and “The Gay Mafia” and "Angry Daddies" in Los Angeles. He is the creator/executive producer of MTV’s LOGO Network series, “The Outlaugh Festival on Wisecrack.” He is the editor and a contributor to “Out on the Edge: America’s Rebel Comics” published by Alyson Books, and author of "Viral - The Story of the Milkshake Girl." Find out all about him at www.mikeplayer.net.
Born in Palo Alto, California, Mike Player is the creator of America's First and Continuing Queer Comedy Festival, Outlaugh!, as well as a performer with and the creator of The Gay Mafia improv/sketch comedy group. He performed comedy improvisation at Lincoln Center, stand-up comedy at The Laugh Factory in LA, as well as Standup New York and the Manhattan Punchline in the Big Apple. He is the "grand nephew" of Clarence Birdseye, the inventor of frozen peas, in addition to being born with the eerily ironic surname "Gay." Mike Gay.
He wrote and performed (at Highways in Santa Monica) a one-man performance piece entitled Mr. Gay, based on growing up in The Gay Family.
Mike trained as an actor at The Strasberg Institute. His most memorable dramatic stage role was in Becoming Walt Whitman (at the Powerhouse Theater), as Walt's sickly younger brother Andrew, who screamed at the homoeroticized Walt from the base of a staircase and then coughed up blood. On television he appeared on ABC's Home Show in a dramatic recreation of an aluminum siding scam.
Mike debuted as a stand-up comedian at the age of 18. He performed in major clubs for six years before segueing into improvisation and sketch comedy writing. During Mike’s salad days in New York he traveled to Egypt and sailed the Nile. He worked briefly as an eager backup singer appearing at New York’s famed Pyramid Club as a member of "Bruno Beats and the Boys." He experimented with skydiving, scuba diving, and wind surfing.
Mike founded the SHOCK OF THE FUNNY Comedy Theater Company in New York and directed, wrote, and performed with them for five years.
He is a graduate of The Warner Brothers Comedy Writers Workshop. His writing partner in the workshop was Shock of the Funny co-star, Oscar Nunez (NBC's The Office, TBS's People of Earth). They have worked together on and off throughout the years.
Mike was a returning champion on the game show, Majority Rules. He made it all the way to The Giant Check! He promptly packed up his winnings and his husband, Joel, in 1998 and traveled the world for six months: The South China Sea, India, The Amazon Jungle. Joel and Mike have been together for 32 years. They were legally married in October, 2008 during California's special limited offer. Joel is an activist-writer-and out queer English Teacher in South LA. Read: "A Good Day" by Joel M. Freedman - lead essay in a collection of 40 essays entitled: "One Teacher in Ten" Second Edition, ed Kevin Jennings.
Mike founded THE GAY MAFIA Comedy Group in Los Angeles and directed and performed with them for ten years.
Mike created THE OUTLAUGH COMEDY FESTIVAL- America's First and Continuing Queer Comedy Festival (live events, The Movie: OUTLAUGH! , and the television series). He is ep/creator of Outlaugh! The Movie which premiered in LA's Outfest Film Festival in 2006 and has screened at film festivals across the country, and internationally. Purchase Outlaugh! The Movie on iTunes and Amazon. Mike is also ep/creator of "The Outlaugh Festival on Wisecrack" 8 episode TV series on MTV's LOGO Network. Purchase on iTunes and Amazon.
He wrote and directed the web series "Fighting Frankie" and wrote the comedy blog thriller, "Screaming in the Car." His nonfiction book, "Out On The Edge: America's Rebel Comics," from Alyson Books is in bookstores and available through Amazon, and his comedy suspense novel "Viral - The Story of the Milkshake Girl" is available through Amazon as well. He recently hosted "Comedy Smash" at the Vidiots Annex in Santa Monica.
In Autumn 2018, he released the first season of the podcast, "Central City on Demand." Unusual comedy in a strange fictional town.
Mike lives in Los Angeles.