Questions for Brian Borbot, founder of Sunday Night Funnies.
How long have you been in comedy?
Since the early '90s. I used to work in sales at W-Light FM. Before it closed, the Comedy Den on Cascade was one of our clients and they let me guest set on Thursday nights.
Did you pursue comedy the entire time?
I picked back up in 2008. I went down to Nashville and was briefly in "Last Comic Standing."
When did Sunday Night Funnies begin?
We had two shows in Douglas in October 2008 and moved to the Riverfront (formerly the Radisson) Hotel in November 2008.
There are not a lot of entertainment options on Sunday.
What was the first show like?
Slow. I think we had seven comics. A lot of friends and family showed up. But I keep charts and I track the growth each year and each year, we see a growth. Now it's nice that we turn away people.
You also started a Wednesday night version at Howard Johnson Plaza Hotel in September. What other kinds of growth have you seen?
We saw a big jump in December 2009. This year, the eve of Christmas Eve and the eve of New Year's Eve, we were full 30 or 40 minutes before the show. Comics now sign up ahead, even though it's an open mic.
How many comics do you have a night?
We have 12 comics do eight-minute sets. At the beginning, we have Sunday Night Funnies Virgins – we sacrifice them first.
You MC Sunday Night Funnies, but do you still tour as a comic?
I just started to get back into it in fall 2010 when I got sick. It turned out to be cancer. I'm now getting back to it. Doing my own shows and MCing are different from being a feature comic, plus, my show is top of the list.
How is your health now?
Good. I've been cancer free for two years in May. It's still a struggle ... The timing was good for LaughFest because I was going through treatments during it and I was involved in a few events. It was therapeutic to get my mind off cancer for an hour. When I was diagnosed, I thought, "If I have cancer, at least I have a good source of material."
What would you like to see for comedy in West Michigan?
I'd like to see more comedy, more of the bigger names like Louis C.K. We need a venue for these types of comics.
How about locally?
More people coming out to my shows and a lot more venues for comedy.
Recently, Tracy Morgan got heat for a homophobic bit, as well as Daniel Tosh for joking about rape. Are there subjects that are off limits to you?
I've never censored anyone's material. I say it's your stage time, but also bear responsibility of how the audience reacts. There's some areas I don't go [in my comedy], but I don't censor anyone.
What goals do you have for Sunday Night Funnies?
I want both shows filled. Other things in mind include a Guinness World Record for most comics in one night. We might approach it in spring or fall when the weather is nice and comics can make the drive. I want to do a documentary of doing that as well. I came up with new ideas for the show, I want to get involved in a festival and possibly ArtPrize.
Interview conducted, condensed and edited by Lindsay Patton-Carson