Interviewing comedians

People are so interesting. When I know a little bit about someone, I place her in a cubbyhole somewhere in my cluttered mind. But when I speak to him, draw him out, I learn so much I never suspected. That is one of the greatest joys of journalism— listening to people’s stories, connecting with them in significant ways and learning always more about the human condition.

Yesterday I interviewed two comics for ComedyBeat, very different right from the get-go.

Mike DeStefano is a recovering heroin addict. He credits comedy with saving his life. His pain is palpable, even without seeing his face in a telephone interview, his suffering and his redemption touched me deeply.

Charlie Sanders’ photo communicates a nice-guy-next-door open friendliness, and his easy laughter does nothing to dispel that impression. But who would guess he’s the Minneapolis Muslim? His hippie parents were not the typical Mid-Westerners Charlie’s photo typifies. His father, a convert to Sufic mysticism, tried to bring his sons up in his adopted Islam. In Charlie’s case, however, it didn’t take. And oh, the stories he tells…

Charlie’s and Mike’s stories will soon be available on

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