Friday, 22 March 2013 10:41

Mo Mandel Writes His Way to the Top

Written by  Josh Spanninga
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Mo Mandel
Dr. Grins, Grand Rapids
April 4-6, show times at 5:30, 8, 9 and 10:30 p.m.
$5-$10, (616) 356-2000

Mo Mandel recently sold three different sitcoms, is working on a movie script and is wowing audiences across the country with his crude, unpredictable humor. He's managed to do all of this by the ripe age of 30. His secret? He finds time every day to sit down and write new material.

This approach to his trade isn't surprising given his past – he graduated from college with a degree in creative writing.

"I was always interested in writing," Mandel said. "I used to write novels and stuff in college, and then eventually got kind of sick of nobody reading them, so I figured 'I'm going start writing things that I can yell at an audience, and they're too drunk and captive to not listen to what I'm saying.'"

It turned out to be a great decision. In 2007 he was the $10,000 winner of Comedy Central's "Open Mic Fight," and he used that money to move to Los Angeles and support himself as he turned comedy into a full-time job.

"The most annoying thing is, you can sit around for hours trying to write jokes and nothing comes," Mandel said. "And then while you're playing basketball you'll think of something hilarious."

There's a good chance audiences have seen Mandel's comedy on numerous television shows such as "Chelsea Lately" and "The Late Show with Craig Ferguson." In November 2011, he released an album simply titled, The M-Word.

"Somebody once described my stand-up album as like one of those boards in the detective's office where there's all the different clues and you're trying to figure out what the whole connection to it is, but it's all interesting in its own right."

And that's exactly what audiences can expect from his live performances at Dr. Grins. Mandel has spent hours writing the jokes that fit into the set which he assures will be "high-energy, pushing the boundaries and relatable."

Aside from his stand-up routine and writing schedule, Mandel also pursued acting. He landed minor roles in "Modern Family" and "Happy Endings," as well as a starring role in the NBC sitcom "Free Agents."

Mandel credits these television roles with giving him more exposure to the world.

"As a comedian there's no better way to gain an audience than to get on television," he said.

Of course, there are other perks to acting as a character other than yourself.

"It's probably the only way I'll ever get to do something cool, you know, like be a hero in any regard," Mandel said. "Stand-up comedy doesn't really give you any chances to fight aliens."

And when asked whether or not he's interested in taking on movie roles, the answer is obvious.

"Of course! I mean, that's like asking me if I want to try out Beyoncé's vagina."

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