By France Griggs Sloat
At age 27, Michael Palascak still lives at home, and that’s not likely to change any time soon. It’s a sweet deal. The rent’s only $200 a month. Plus the living arrangement gives him his best material.
“I like living at home,” he says. “My parents have an awesome washer and dryer, like top-of-the-line technology. Here’s how it works. I put my clothes in the washer, they come out folded on my bed. Sometimes they come out ironed and on a hanger with a little sticky note that says, ‘This is the last time!’ ”
Palascak’s folksy, innocent, boyish delivery and clean content about the quirks of everyday life are earning him great laughs—and a lot of recognition as a stand-up comic. In 2007 he won the Taste of Chicago’s stand-up contest. He pocketed the $10,000 first-place prize in
the HBO Lucky 21 contest in Las Vegas. He won Comedy Central’s “Open Mic Fight” and earned a spot on Comedy Central’s “Live At Gotham” show in New York.
And Palascak is as surprised as anyone—especially his parents—about his success. His dad primed him to be a doctor or lawyer, but Palascak wanted none of that. He came to Xavier thinking about playing baseball. When that didn’t work out, he had time to pursue comedy.
He worked on his writing as an English major and his acting as a performance studies minor and Xavier Players theater group member.
In the summers, he took classes at The Second City and started going to open mic nights at local Chicago comedy clubs. His first appearance at Barrel of Laughs was a total bomb. The only thing he remembers is the audience not laughing—except when they weren’t supposed to. He didn’t give up, and the laughs started coming.
His first paid gig was the Thursday after graduating from Xavier in 2004. He rolled into Chicago from Cincinnati and went straight to Riddles Comedy Club for four shows in two nights. He made $40.
Now Palascak is on the college and comedy club circuit. He travels Wednesday through Saturday and spends the rest of his time writing new material. He goes to open mic events around Chicago and auditions for a lot of TV sitcoms.
“I realized the more you talk about your own life, the more original you’ll be, because no one has lived that life except you.” And your parents.
To learn more, visit Palascak's home page at www.michaelpalascak.com or watch a video of a recent performance at Gotham, from Rooftop Comedy or the Tonight Show with Jay Leno.