“Mike Speenberg is funny.” The first line on his website bio couldn’t be more accurate.
The Charlotte native left the Queen’s City in 1998 to chase his dreams of being a comedian. Speenberg’s journey took him around the globe, sharing the stage with legends like Robin Williams and Bill Burr, who recently took on hosting duties of NBC’s Saturday Night Live.
While the road has been tough for comedians before the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s especially difficult for stand up acts to get back to work in North Carolina due to Gov. Roy Cooper’s restrictions.
Speenberg, who moved back to where it all started, is now forced to take virtual offerings or perform at out-of-state comedy clubs for the time being. He stepped into the Ty Boyd Studio Wednesday as a guest on the Pat McCrory Show with Bo Thompson to talk about returning to Charlotte and evolution of the city.
“When I moved to Atlanta in 1998, Charlotte feels just like Atlanta did to me,” Speenberg said. “That means that Charlotte in 20 years is going to be as big as Atlanta.” He went on to say, “Charlotte has changed so much. When I moved back here two or three years ago, I would go to SouthPark Mall and see guys I went to high school with.”
Now, a glaring difference with pandemic comes from traveling to different areas of the country and many times adhering to a different set of restrictions even miles away. Speenberg has taken his set to South Carolina and other states over the past 11 months with very little work inside his home state. He wonders why establishments like nightclubs and bars are allowed to be open in some states, but comedy clubs aren’t or are restricted to a reduced capacity.
“A perfect example of what’s going on. I headlined in Chattanooga about a month and a half, two months ago, at the comedy catch and (the owner) has to social distance, sell 30 percent of his tickets and lose money. I get paid less money, because he gets paid less money so it trickles down– everybody loses money. When the show is over, I walk to the parking lot and look across the parking lot and see a dance club of millennials”
Dugwise is a new podcast that chronicles Speenberg’s reintroduction to Charlotte. The latest episodes go in-depth about the past and how things have changed around the Queen’s City over the past four decades.
Speenberg takes his show on the road to Atlanta’s Punchline Comedy Club this weekend. For those wanting to stay closer to the Carolinas, Speenberg will be performing at the Pimlico Community Center in Moncks Corner, SC on Feb. 27.
For more information, please visit speenberg.com.
Listen to the entire interview with Mike Speenberg on The Pat McCrory Show with Bo Thompson below.