Standup Comedy, Comic-Magician Michael Finney Interview & Comedy Set

Michael Finney grew up in Woodland CA, near Sacramento where my clubs were, and from his first trick as a way to make tips as a bartender to doing huge corporate shows with Jay Leno, he has led a very successful life as one of the Best Award-winning comic-magicians on the road. He also owned a comedy club, so that adds to his story.

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Podcast Transcript:

Announcer: 

This is another episode of stand up comedy, your host and emcee, celebrating 40 plus years on the fringe of show business, stories, interviews and comedy sets from the famous and not so famous. Here’s your host and emcee Scott Edwards.

Scott Edwards: 

Welcome, ladies and gentlemen, another great interview on the show today. A gentleman that got his start is actually from Woodland California, which is a neighbor to Sacramento where my clubs were. He is a very talented award winning magician, but he’s also a really terrific comic. And as a comic magician, we had a chance to work with him several times in the 80s. Please welcome to the podcast, Michael Finney.

Michael Finney: 

My goal, Michael, that’s crazy. That’s the most applause I’ve ever gotten in my career.

Scott Edwards: 

I don’t believe them for a minute. Michael, it’s so great to hear your voice. We had a chance to work together a lot back in the 80s. But we haven’t chatted since very much and arrive. It’s just the way lives go. But let’s re back up a little bit. I alluded to it in the interview. You are from Woodland California, which is a small rural town in northern California. We you there. The big chunk of your first year life.

Michael Finney: 

Yeah, I was there till I graduated high school was 71 as a junior, so I worked in a factory my senior year with most guys. Were still doing the senior year and then I think I hung around in Sacramento, I moved over to Sacramento. And I left there in 77 That’s when I finally you know, I need to go you know, find a you know, a good life somewhere and it was way before comedy and it was after a divorce. Oh, wow. You all Oh, yeah. Shoot. Well, you Vegas that night.

Scott Edwards: 

I know you cut your teeth as a magician. What age did you kind of get started unlike stand up comedy where most entertainers are their, their teens or 20s before they start. I know a lot of magicians that got started when they were like nine and 10. When we when we you bit by the magic bug.

Michael Finney: 

And that’s, that’s kind of the best part of the whole story. Because I was like, at that point I was I got into the food beverage industry. And I started out as a midnight Bellman in a hotel, called the San Carlos Hotel in downtown Phoenix was built in 1903. And the elevators were hand operated. I had to take you to your floor and let you off. If you wanted to come down. I had to come up did you and bring you down. So it was very nostalgic for me you know cuz that we watched all those movies as kids growing up 50s and 60s, you know, with a Bellman was so, so cool. And I did that for a while and the hotel guy liked me. And eventually, you want to learn to 10 bar I can’t keep barking. And I went for this for me. You know, man, bartender a kid man that that’s up there. That’s pretty cool job man. 1978. And so, I learned a tip while these two girls teach me how to 10 bar. And I get pretty good at it. You know what I learned you play with flames and all that stuff and do a harbor light all these cool classic drinks. In no time at all. I started getting a reputation. And a guy from the golden eagle came down to the copper door Lounge, which is where I was at bar. And he goes Hey, our nighttime bartenders gonna leave and we’d like to know if you want the job. Wow, kidding me. 36 stories high. I’ve only been in the bar for maybe seven or eight months. But it was a click is I mean, this bar that I’ve gone through is right across the street only it’s 36 stories high. And it’s basically the same clientele at different level. Doctors, lawyers, judges, it was right in downtown Phoenix. I mean, I couldn’t even tell you who I was rubbing elbows with but they were somebody and so I get this job. I go to the Golden Eagle restaurant. I’m wearing a bow tie or ruffle shirt a cumberbund I’ve got the magician’s outfit before I even learned

Scott Edwards: 

so true. You have the look. Yeah,

Michael Finney: 

yeah. And so I went in one day early and a guy by the name of Bosh Bob shot was packing up and they go do more and more Bob do one more people more or less. So I stick my head around the corner. And I and there’s like five guys watching and he takes a lit cigarette with You could still smoke in the bar, you know, he, he takes a lit cigarette, he picks a puff on it. And he puts it in his hand. And then he makes it disappear right in front of these jokers. And I saw their jaws drop. And I mean, my jaw dropped. I didn’t see it, and I’m standing behind it. And then when they were leaving, I saw the cash they were throwing at it. I mean, I mean, you know, not $1, not $2, but like a $5 tip, to know, a tip and from each booth.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, that magic is something that people really appreciate when done well. And bartenders, for those that don’t know in the audience, make pretty good tips to begin with most bartenders work for minimum wage, which is next to nothing. But you make your living on the tips. And if you could do something like be funny, but especially magic, I bet that guy raked in the bucks.

Michael Finney: 

Well, he did and, and, you know, that that guy’s my mentor, I buried him. Okay. I was the only me and Laurie where his family and my son who was ex military. We were the last one, we buried him and took care of him. I mean, literally got him into VA assisted getting into VA apartment after Katrina in New Orleans. He had nowhere to go. And I said, Come back here, Bob will pick your

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, that’s sweet.

Michael Finney: 

That’s lucky to have been in a position to be able to do something for a guy that had done something for me, because when I learned that trick, he goes, Yeah, he can do this trick really cost you $100 I paid $100 to learn my first trick. And, and anybody that knows anything about magic knows, you know how the trick is done and how easy it is to get ahold of and whatever. But man, that that, that $100, that’s $100 I’ve ever spent in my life.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, it sounds like it got you on your career path. Because not only are you a terrific magician for not just a comedy club, or a high rise bar or restaurant, but you’re a class act, a stage wise, in fact, into winning an award from Zigfried. And Roy,

Michael Finney: 

you know, back in the 80s. I was working comedy clubs, I got real lucky tonight, we’re gonna do comedy club. And they had a dance competition in Las Vegas, the desert magic seminar. It was it was competitions and it was about magicians. And Siegfried and Roy, they hosted it, they put their name on it, they draw everybody. Joe Stephens I think was the guy that put this whole thing together. And it was very, it was awesome. It was one man like 5000 Magicians from all over the world would come in converge on Vegas for a week. And they had a competition one year and it was the complete conjurer. He had to do close up magic. And he had to do stage magic. I didn’t know anybody. It was my first year 1985. And I took fourth place. Wow, I walked away feeling pretty good. Because I’m nobody, nobody even heard it. The next year was the comedy magic competition. And I took second place on that. And then I stopped competing. Because I got you know, whatever it was that I needed to validate myself with the magician. I got you know, because it just that’s how it works there. Yeah, big knowledge by your peers. Right, right. Well, the cream rises to the top is no excuses. So I didn’t really know what I was doing. I was just doing what I was doing. And it worked. And that that broad sense of humor that to go across generations young, old and and I learned that because I did a week with him. He yelled for yesterday professor with glory bullied I wrote on group I mean, Norm Crosby I spent time with. And I learned things from these pros, these little pros, man and and look, everyone I mentioned to you, they performed right up until they died. I mean, that’s just how irrelevant they stayed in their genre. And so I just I like fitting in that. You know, I like it’s comfortable.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, it’s you touched on it a little bit. But I want to explain to the audience one of the things that’s interesting about the career path you took is that stand up comics, they’re writing all the time. And every time they go on stage, they have to be original and funny. And they’re all different. I mean, even if they talk all about flying, they have a different approach, different aspect. But what’s unique about magic, it’s similar to juggling in that everybody’s pretty much doing this same tricks only they do them better, or they put their variants on it. But what makes somebody like you as a comic magician stand out is the patter that you’re you’re doing maybe the same car trick is the guy next door, but he’s putting people to sleep. And your patter is got jokes and material and interaction with the audience that makes that same trick five times better. Wouldn’t you say? That’s true.

Michael Finney: 

It’s the only thing that makes it work is your label. You know, you’re taking in your personal. If you go back and look at some of the guys that I like, Tommy Cooper from England just had his own delivery. Wayne Dotson, from England could do just about anything. When you watch Harry Anderson, Harry had his whole take with his character and who he was. And then they were even better because you like the character so much. You’re buying into the trick to you want to see the magic. And that’s how that all just gets so big and just so enjoyable.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, and and you picked an old friend of mine, Harry worked for me quite a bit, we got pretty close there, back in the 80s. And he’d certainly had a unique way of doing his magic. But going back to your start learning a couple tricks in the bar and developing that into a little magic act and then using your personality and we should tell everybody, you’re a fun guy. You you I mean you have a good personality, you interact and exchange well with the audience and with people and you put those things all together and you get a gym called Michael Finney and every time you’re on my stage, you not only wild them with the magic, but you are had him on the floor with the comedy.

Michael Finney: 

I owe that to Leno you know I’m not just gonna drop an name you but little gave me my very first job. Really, Houston, Texas, Houston, Texas. We were working Howard markets, the laptop of West Ray. Back in those days it was right before he got the Doritos commercial. And we were staying in a hotel. And I traveled with an Intellivision TV game back in the day. And he liked it. So we met, we hit it off. We played that game. On Wednesday. He goes, You know, you could just do stand up. You don’t have to do this magic stuff. You’re just a funny guy. You’re a likable guy. You could just be straight. And I said no. I don’t know how to get up there without something in my hand. I don’t know how to write. Alright, what are you? You’re a magician, okay, you’re a magician. Okay. As a kid growing up, my favorite trick was making my piece disappear, and then reappear in my little brother’s play. Now, he follows that by saying, that’s not a belly laugh. You might even get a chuckle. But it’s a start. So start with that. That’s how simple it is. Next night, I came back the next night. And I didn’t. I said I didn’t care for spinach. And my dad would say you know your spinach. Don’t you want to grow up to be just like Popeye. Even at nine years old, I knew olive oil was a pretty ugly woman. And J goes Jake, Jake, just he just goes you know that smile? Right? Mild thing like he knew. And he just pushed the button and shoot man that.

Scott Edwards: 

You know, it’s interesting. It’s interesting. We’ve worked together a few times. I know about your humble billing beginnings in Woodland and how you ended up making fame and fortune out of Arizona. And yet, what a great opportunity to kind of get that lift in the magic side from Siegfried and Roy, and getting a lift from the comedy side from Jay Leno. I mean, you’re hanging with some pretty cool people.

Michael Finney: 

You know, it’s all about the opportunities that are there that create, you know, happiness. I didn’t know what I was doing, Scott. I just I was I was getting worked as I was on the road. And definitely the magic thing happened. And that’s when Gerald Tupac was in the audience. And I ended up getting everyone to his comedy clubs across the United States a couple of those a year, man. And then from there, you know, I went did I did? You know, I didn’t do all the big improvs. And those I just wasn’t that LA guy. I did all the other stuff. You know, the Stanford and the grid room in Louisiana. And yeah, but there’s 3540 weeks a year.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, there’s plenty of clubs outside of LA. I mean, we all know we’ve talked about on the podcast, the comedy hubs of New York, San Francisco, LA, maybe Boston, but there was especially after about 1980 For when I opened laughs unlimited in 1980, there was very few clubs. But by 1984, it was like the country got an infection. There were there were clubs everywhere. They were like Starbucks on every corner, there was a comedy club, it was kind of replacing disco to bring everybody up to base. But still, you had an opportunity. And we’ve talked before about how a lot of becoming successful as an entertainer can be luck. And so being seen by that club owner and getting all those gigs would have rocketed you up a level from the normal guys doing road work? Because like you said, if you could book 3035 weeks a year, I mean, that’s that’s not nothing. That’s a career. That’s amazing. Now you ended up working with me, we were so excited to get you because we knew you were from Woodland, we could draw some customers in from there. What are your memories of working laughs unlimited?

Michael Finney: 

You know, I think I did what, three times, three times, I think I did your club. And the thing that was I mean, the best part of it was because I that’s as close as I was gonna get to Woodland, for anybody to actually come and see me you know that, because I kept it under wraps until I was doing really, really well. I didn’t go back to Woodland or, Hey, look at me, I’m a comedian. Now. I really waited until I could go on a legitimate stage. And people would have to fucking pay regardless to who was headlining. And so that was given command a little more respect, you know, just a little more, you know, at least curiosity, you know, at least curiosity. And that’s all I wanted. All I ever asked video. Just give me five minutes. If I can’t make you average to date you in five minutes. Did you probably write about me? Right, right. Well, I can I think that’s how it has to be. And back

Scott Edwards: 

in those days. Yeah. I was just gonna say everybody had to kind of prove themselves. But you were one of the few acts that I brought in as an opening act or feature. I usually use magicians in the feature spot to break up the show. But I know that you were so strong. We ended up having you be the headliner after I think the first or second night, right.

Michael Finney: 

Yeah, that was, you know, things happen for a reason. And so, I mean, I’ve never held back. I mean, I opened for Rich Jeni once. And God bless that dude, man. He was very cool. We did a show for Johnson and Johnson. And and you said, like, I know, he’s making the big bucks.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, Richard Jeni was one of the best.

Michael Finney: 

Oh, man, I know it. And so but they hired me to go on in front of him. And then I decided to hold back I just dropped. But he made a comment to me on your look, but don’t do any rope tricks. And so, you know, for whatever reason, you’re climbing someone’s head. And you know, these are indicators that tell you that you’re doing something right. And the big guys are noticing. You know, they are, they are a really nice, full circle. Scott of full circle story. I get hired by a big company in St. Louis called contemporary agency. Huge. I mean, and so I’m at St. Louis. I think it’s the University. And I’m booked with Jalen. Jalen was closing the show. It’s just me and Jay, in a 500 seat theater, that Einstein Martin Luther King, everybody has walked on this stage of the history. And it’s in it’s in like a lecture room. You know, you’re in a serious basement. Big huge fundraiser. People are paying mega bucks. And I’m man, I’m like, I’m ready. You know, the clothes are right. You know, I used to wear some crazy clothes in the comedy club. It’s so funny. That’s true. That looks you know, trying to find the look, trying to find know the haircut just trying to be that you as unique as I possibly can. But it all makes sense. Well, man, I get a nice suit. And I’m with Jay. And I do a really nice, like a tight 25. And I get a standing ovation from these people. Standing ovation from these people in 25 minutes. And my brother said when he heard the applause Jay opened the door and he turns to my wife and Patrick, my brother and his kids come a long way since I first met it was just but I could never get on The Tonight Show. Yeah, well okay, but he did. He didn’t like magic enough and But he was always cool to me. And I’ll just say that much about Jay. But he really saw a full circle, because this is at least 15 years later, 20 years later that we’re doing this big time show. Yeah, he took me from your first job to a big concert like that and got to see you develop.

Scott Edwards: 

That’s a great story. Now, when you work laughs I know we had a lot of your family and friends come in from Woodland, you had some amazing shows, as I’ve alluded to not only a terrific comic with a very funny patter, but your magic is, is rock solid, and very entertaining. And one of the things that I liked about your magic, and you’ve seen other magicians do it. But you had a knack for taking simple tricks, and making them really fun. You know, there wasn’t some big illusion or some, you know, Ooh, there’s actually magic going on. Because well, yeah, the tricks you did. Even though they were really good, weren’t, you didn’t have to think a lot. They were just quick, simple and entertaining.

Michael Finney: 

And that, you know, that’s the whole thing. If you’re doing comedy, magic, for me, the emphasis was on the comedy. I had to make it funny. I wanted to make it as funny as I possibly could. So then it was, oh, by the way, did you see what I was doing? While I was making you laugh? Oftentimes, people would be laughing and they would be bending overlapping. Or they were looking at each other, they would look at, you know, people, when they laugh, they look at another person to see if that person is appreciating the joke, or the humor or agreeing with the laughter So oftentimes, you look. So they’re their own worst misdirection. You know, you can do whatever you want it. But you’re right, I took classics in magic, develop them to where I could do them with my eyes closed. And then just learn to present them every time in a funny way. Just where everybody could enjoy it. I mean, I got away with murder back in the day. With the lady rope routine, I mean, oh, yeah.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, how about the visual, the simple of the five card trick where you count out five cards, and you couldn’t get the trick? And I mean, that was so simple. So basic, and yet so clean, from a magical point of view, a very clean trick, and was one of those ones that with your patter, you took a one minute bit and turned it into a five minute bit. And it was very funny, right? So we had a lot of success with you at laughs unlimited. I know, you went on to a huge career, as you mentioned already working clubs all over the country. You’re based out of Phoenix now, right?

Michael Finney: 

Yeah, this has been my home. I came here in 77. And it was the best move I’ve ever made in my life. I mean, getting into comedy, you know, just was lucky. I just took the road as it unfolded in front of me. I’d be happy if I was still a bartender to this very day. Because I love working there. It’s a romantic lifestyle. You know, in the old movies, the bartender knew who the good guys, we’re who the bad guys were introduced, they take care of both sides. live this life. Exactly. That, you know, yeah, the magic. The magic taught me to the comedy and well, we were you just go with it. Good. Well,

Scott Edwards: 

let’s just say me in the public, we’re happy that you made the changes you did, because you brought a lot of great entertainment and laughter to a lot of people. And even though you might have been a great bartender, I think you entertained many more. Hey, um, yeah, one of the things that we talked about previously, is that when you got settled into Phoenix, and you’d found some success, didn’t you get involved in one of the clubs there?

Michael Finney: 

Well, as a matter of fact, that was, that was just another thing. It’s just all about timing. Oh, everything in life at that time. chuckles Comedy Club, which was the hugest, I mean, they were right across the street from the University in Tempe. They were getting 400 people on average at night. 604 shows on the weekend. 24 I mean, it was just crazy. I opened for Robin Williams and Richard Belzer and rich Scheibner. And I was the house emcee every month. I got one week where I was the emcee. Oh, how fun where I met all the old pros. But you know, they just, they mismanaged it. You know, it was crazy, crazy wild times in those early 80s. Man. Yeah, it was, like 83, maybe 8283. Just so they blew it. And so comedy was dead in Phoenix. And Paul hop and I went to the Mardi Gras, Gatsby said, do we read that back? Luma We went in and painted it, set it all up, I got the loan, and they got the liquor, we got the door and the percentage of the liquor. And that’s how we opened up the first Penny bones. 110 feet. Wow, come there, you become their chief Pat Paulson, Paula Poundstone looked him in for me. Robert, while all the guys you know,

Scott Edwards: 

right, they all work for me. But I was gonna say you saw me running laughs unlimited and got inspired, say I was trying to pull myself into the story. But no funny bones ended up being a real landmark in Phoenix, and you brought a lot of name acts to that town. And I know it was very successful. The reason I brought it up was unlike other, so I’m a producer, I own a comedy club, but I produce the shows, and then I paid professional entertainers. You were not only a paid professional entertainer, but you changed hats and became a producer club owner. Was it interesting seeing both sides of the fence?

Michael Finney: 

I love to hear both sides of the fence. You know why? Because I was an entertainer first. So I got to see what it was like being out on the road in a new town, not knowing anybody, maybe having a car or a rental car, I do all these things. So as a club owner, first thing I wanted to do is make sure that they had a play. So the hotel is what I wanted. But day one, I never got to play atomic, the Anaconda. So it was worked out perfect. We put them in a hotel, and then shoot just just the little amenities of being able to say this is here. This is there. This is there. We can help you. You know, it just you knew I knew how to avoid confrontation. Right, right. And you introduced your guy ahead. Right? What you know, hey, you know, I’ve been there. I know what we can do. You know, so let’s all keep it comedy back on the road, you know, just a little speech back in the day, let them aware that I’m a brother, you know, so I know what you’re going through. And they could call me or they could call Paul 24/7 while they were in town. But I don’t we never had any incidents at my club. Yeah. Well, when I say that, to you, your topics are staying on location. So they’re a complete representation of what’s going on. 24/7. Right. But your relationship with the hotel, the property and your contract. So I had to count on these topics come in here and be really cool, you know, because they get crazy.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, I think it’s interesting, you’re pointed out that the real value you brought to the whole aspect of being on the producer club owner side was that you understood what it was like to be on the road. And I wanted to just chime in on that, because I’ve mentioned a few times to my audience, that one of the reasons I felt laughs unlimited was more successful than a lot of small town clubs, was, I got my start by being guided by people like George Wallace, Bob Saget. Kuya Shandling? They told me, I was not afraid to ask and they told me how to treat the comics, how to make them feel comfortable. And if you make a comic feel comfortable, they’ll bend over backwards to not only work hard for the club, but to take care of the audiences. And I think that helped build my success. And it sounds like you were able to do that from the get go because of your experience. Now did you work your club yourself? Good? Would that be weird? Were you the emcee? What happened?

Michael Finney: 

You know what? Just before we go into that, would you say to me, I love every comic. And I think every person in my life comes in. I appreciate. I appreciate them, because they prove different or otherwise, man, I appreciate who they are, what they’re bringing to the table. And as far as the city bones goes, Man, you know, I was I was working 3540 weeks a year. I was on the road all the time. And so if I did come home, maybe occasionally I would headline but I wasn’t one of those guys that was there every week every night. I just I was working that headline and and so it was it worked out good because the cook could stand on its own and make yourself so that when I did demo, Shoot man it was I would sell out for a week. That’s awesome.

Scott Edwards: 

What a great what a great opportunity, Michael and congratulations for being able to cross that path and make both sides work. That’s that couldn’t have been easy all the time. And I think your theory on just being appreciative of everybody is a great message for everybody because One of the things that I think is important is, I’ve always appreciated the talent because in my mind, I have no talent. I mean, I was a good producer, and I felt like a decent club owner. Yeah. But when I came to magicians and jugglers and ventriloquist and stand up comics, to me, I really appreciated their talent and what they brought to my audiences. Now you really become a fixture in Phoenix. I know, you and I have talked before about this, you’re quite a golfer? Didn’t you put together a tournament? That’s a pretty big deal in Phoenix, Arizona.

Michael Finney: 

You know, that’s why I tell you the road, the road has just been so, so cool the road life, you know, you just double down. And so I started doing all these corporate jobs. I was often at comedy clubs for 17 years, then I started doing the corporate, you know, everybody was elevated to that level. And so you just dress a little cleaner. And, you know, I never did you know, so I never had a problem with that. I just did you like innuendo or double entendre kind of humor. And so my, they bought it, you know, I mean, I work for everybody. I mean, that’s great.

Scott Edwards: 

And corporate loves magic to the fact that you could do comedy and magic is very corporate. And I’m not surprised at all. You made a great career doing that.

Michael Finney: 

And you take a couple of pieces, and especially verbiage out the company’s message in the presentation. And then you’ve custom wrote a bit for them, which they can keep and they buy it from you. And so yeah, yeah, all these little hooks. Magic has all these hooks. So I start getting invited to all these charity events. The first one was one for Jim Taylor from the old Green Bay Packers in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. The next one was by Phil Niekro, the Hall of Fame baseball pitcher who took me to Atlanta, and introduced me to the Major League Baseball Alumni Association. Four or 510 events a year for the guy. Then I get hooked up with the football alumni and I started doing stuff for Jack Smith and now I meet the Ozzie Smith and so I get to go to all these charity events and I my buddy Mark Cordis really good, funny comedian. I said, Hey, man, I think you and I could put together one of these golf tournaments. And the comedians would be the celebrity, you know, where we would go there would be like, Michael Jordan would be there. Or you know, just saying any, any high celebrity or retired movie star, whatever. They’re all there. I even got to do a couple of Sinatra’s so that’s where I met. All these polityki movie stars. montagny was out there. Sorbo I’m having lunch with Darby. And that’s awesome. We put together a Celebrity list of comedians. And we were doing two golf courses at the same time. Wow. 30 Yeah, to two full golf course. 3016. So, the celebrity started hearing about it. We will live in bytes. Next thing you know, we got Alice Cooper, Glen Campbell. Smith, Phil Niekro Johnny Bench, Ted Hendrick.

Scott Edwards: 

That’s amazing, Michael. Good job.

Unknown: 

Great. I got videos of the shows. I got. We did this for 20 years. Yeah.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, congratulations. What? And now you are one of the few entertainers that has his own foundation. So a lot of those proceeds filtered through your foundation. And who were you supporting?

Michael Finney: 

Well, we started off with the path of school for homeless kids. We would support Christmas parties, Christmas giving, we take two or three classes at a time to Walmart in the gift card and they can go shopping for their family. They have their own gift cards. And we we did this. We did the Phoenix firefighters burn camp under rope, you know, attend these programs for that. You know, soldiers, which is the lady protect and pray that we get any charity that came along where we can help people? Immediately. That’s what we wanted to do. So well. That’s just a few.

Scott Edwards: 

That’s amazing. And I’m a golfer as well. I’m certainly not in your class. How’s your game, which What’s your handicap?

Michael Finney: 

You know, all things right now all things 15 handicap. I’m a member of a little club here in Phoenix called arrowhead. Oh, cool. Isn’t that a 15 right now?

Scott Edwards: 

Good for you.

Unknown: 

Again, all things considered with my neck and my shoulder. I’m just happy to be out there. You know

Scott Edwards: 

swaying right. And now talking about charities. And I’m just doing this as a throwaway, because I think we have something in common. In my research, I think I heard that you’re a Rotarian, or were you raising money for rotary?

Unknown: 

Yes, I did. Rotary was a group that did he record a gift of life. And for every $5,000 We gave them, they could get a child and open heart surgery. Wow, third world country. And so they were willing to, we really supported them as much as we could, because what was happening was immediate. They were saving someone’s life. Today, right now, as a direct result of the people who supported all the things that we were doing in our events to raise money to help us Foxworthy came in headline here. The lovely guys keep in my power for my entire career, Elaine boozer. She, yeah, she came in, he came to my turn, like the last one, the last years we did it. She just, she took control, he raised so my brother at the live auction, and I’ve made so many great friends, comedy, and they’ve stayed my friends. And so, you know, I’m just so lucky.

Scott Edwards: 

Well, I only brought up Rotary because I’ve been a longtime Rotarian over 20 years. And what’s nice about when you ever you give money to rotary, they can a lot of times get it matched by Rotary International, and you can do amazing things. But I just wanted to mention rotary as a plug for my audience. But you obviously Michael have had an amazing career. And it started with learning a trick as a bartender, ended up doing some stage comedy magic, took you corporate and made you a lifelong career. Out of all those situations. Is there some road story or moment that stands out to you that would be fun to share?

Michael Finney: 

Yeah, yeah. Because what are the chances? I’m working on a cruise ship, and it’s my first really high end, cruise ship a the ability to add and floating in the south, south pacific. Now, that’s where my father was served in the Merchant Marines on transport ships, was out in the South Pacific. So I got to go there. And at least I got to be in those waters and see how far away from it is where we live here in the United States, to where we went. And just so now, two years ago, I think we served up with Don Barnhart. Yeah. Paulo gada. And Danny Bill upon Oh, wow. And we the four of us went on the Armed Forces entertainment tour of like, all these places in the Middle East. All these places, I’ve always wanted to go and do a USO show.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, that’s amazing. Michael. Bob Hope

Michael Finney: 

thing. Well, Barnhart set it up one year. And then another guy said, I did three trips over there. You know, and that’s, that’s not that I know, guys could have done 20 or 30. But dude, I’m already over 60. So this is crazy that I’m even going.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, but still what a way to give back and to not only support our troops, but to usually to bring them down. I

Michael Finney: 

just did it because it was the right thing to do. So here I am. And I ended up in Kuwait. And one of the trips is to camp gearing, Camp Yering is out in the middle of the desert. Like two or three hours drive. You got escorted out there. They get you all set up. This is where my son was deployed in 2008. Was this exact same camp Wow. Just outside of Kuwait. I went into his office, he was the provost marshal there. The Navy had loaned him to the army for a year. So he came out and ran this one certain area that it was unbelievable to go and stand next to these things that I have pictures of him standing next. So so that that as far as something that how the hell is that ever going to happen in somebody’s lifetime? All because the comedy, are you kidding me? And magic trick. And then the other side of that going is? It has to be Laurie. I mean, I’ve been married now for like 43 years.

Scott Edwards: 

I should I should hit the applause for that. That’s amazing for any entertainer.

Michael Finney: 

You know, listen, Marty did plenty of interviews and magic magazine. It was about Jerry’s cream, but it was something that neither one of us had ever explored. When I married her I did not do comedy. I did not do magic. I think I was standing airplane. I was just looking for a path, I was looking for something. And she came into my life and just kind of lifted me up and do things that, you know, like getting getting him getting a job working socially, you know, and engaging with people. Okay. probably wasn’t going to be on my list of high things you do. You’re born with a cleft palate. So you got a little bit of a different speaking boy. I have a lot of problems, a lot of words. And so to get over that, then it’s up on stage.

Scott Edwards: 

Got, yeah, Michael, you’ve had an amazing career in whatever you thought might have held you back when you were young. And if it was Laura, that took you through that. I mean, yeah, how incredible. Like you said that life’s path, took you where it took you and had the successes that you’ve had. That’s a great story. And thanks for mentioning your bride because we all need someone to lean on from time to time. And I know in my case, my bride, Jill is is my rock. And people like us, especially in entertainment, where it’s can be a little extra difficult. It’s nice to have that. But thank you for what you’ve done not only for my club, laughs unlimited back in the day, all the way up until entertaining our troops recently, fundraising through the golf tournament, doing successful corporate shows, Michael, you’ve had a great career.

Michael Finney: 

I’ve been blessed. I totally have I really have. And there’s so many outside forces that you know, shaped you, and make you get to wherever you are. So, man, if nothing else, I went all the comics, if any comics have admitted in every one of seminar some way had an impression on your left an impression on me. And so even though you’re trying to represent the whole group, and I just comics are a great group of people. And I appreciate this opportunity, Scott.

Scott Edwards: 

Oh, well, it’s been my honor. And it’s great to catch up with you, Michael. And we won’t forget the work you did for us and sharing your story today. Ladies and gentlemen, one of the best in the business, not only a very funny guy, and a really nice guy, but a terrific magician. I mean, you’re the whole package. And, and I and this is, this is an audio podcast, but I’ll somehow have to find a way for them to see what you look like because you’ve always had an amazing hairdo. And you always had fairly loud I remember an orange suit. And I mean, you always used to have the big wide ties back in the 80s. You are a colorful character.

Michael Finny: 

You really you only get one chance to make a first impression. And compared today, it’s pretty thin.

Scott Edwards: 

Yeah, I guess you don’t you don’t have a piece of metal coming out of every orifice, right? Hey. Hey, Michael, thanks so much for being on the podcast today. Ladies and gentlemen. We want to say thank you. Oh, let’s have a little applause for Michael Finney. Thank you very much. Hey, it’s been a real pleasure. Ladies and gentlemen. Stay tuned. We have some stand up comedy coming up for you next. And don’t forget next week, another great show. Bye. Hey, thanks, Michael.

Michael Finney: 

Thank you very much. made it very easy for me. Appreciate it.

Scott Edwards: 

Right now. We have our closing out for this evening. The settlement goes way back in the history of Laughs Unlimited worked for us for a lot of years. He comes to us out of Phoenix, Arizona where he has his own Comedy Club is one of the top comic magicians on the West Coast. Let’s have a nice round of applause. Michael Finney right here. Michael Finney.

Michael Finney: 

Much pretty excited. My name is Michael Finney I get to travel around quite a bit these days. I’m very fortunate but I’ve got a couple of pet peeves Why is it hotel curtains never close all the way okay, that’s just a thought Why is it Do Not Disturb means knock louder I’m sleeping you know i Since the majority of you people do not get to travel much let me see if I can do some material we can all relate on I don’t like single ply toilet tissue Okay, think I hit the nut I don’t like loud boisterous laughter coming from the kitchen of a Denny’s At 3am I wanted all business back there last thing I want to be looking for some shifts surprise and last but not least, I don’t care for those male flight attendants call me insensitive a call me straight there’s just something about that guy wanting to put my seat in its full upright position I don’t like don’t offer me a coke I’m not thirsty and a pillow or a blanket won’t be necessary because I’m not going to sleep and be watching every move you make Stevie sweat you float on by sure there’s something for you to do in the rear of the airplane not love to do on planes unless you get to take a trip across country then you might get to watch a movie. Otherwise you’re limited to listening to a Walkman or reading some of these bigger planes. They have phones on them now. Domino’s owes me a pizza I think that’s kind of funny too. But in the back of my mind I feel kind of bad because I saw the kid go by twice I flashed my light and I moved my window up and down really fast. I guess he was looking at his map and I wanted those pizzas too cuz I’m tired of these eight nuts to a bag thing they’re trying to get me on the plane this is it now from New York to LA and they pass it out like it’s on a silver platter like it’s some big deal here you want to Sir the whole bag I’ll never be able to finish all you better bring me a drink and that’s the hook to give you peanuts. What do you want to drink? Drink Drink two or $3 apiece. $3 A piece that’s $30 from Houston to Dallas oh wait I don’t like people sitting next to me on planes. I think the seats are too small even Braille the people so I figured out a way to stop people from sitting next to me I’d like to pass this along to you. The next time you go on a plane go on with the pre boards. Get yourself situated, then reach forward and pull out that puke bag now what I do is I just set mine on my lap and then if I have to I will stare intensely at it thinks they’re gonna sit next to me God I don’t know. I think it was those nuts just by random applause how many people here appreciate the fine art of magic performed correctly this could be a major disappointment to some of you keep in mind that I always wanted to be a magician but when my sister told me she was getting $100 a trick I said hey magics for me, I used to put rabbits in the hat but they would be it’s not funny but they have a purple mark up to there. So now I got a lot of these little lucky rabbit’s feet for sale it’s not that bad yet see those rabbits skip around the house now I knew he was my kind of crowd I’m going to attempt to read someone’s mind in the audience. I know a lot of you didn’t come prepared Stillman right here with the gray striped shirt on what is your name sir looking right at you but you’re now going like this What is it? Ron we couldn’t school yo Adrian we’ve been in math. I need to think of a number between one and 1004 as high as you could go I’m writing down my prediction what I believe to be your answer feet amazing tricky to to match, won’t it? Right here first for me sir. Okay. simple yes or no? We’ll get this was your number 940 You answer correctly predicted

Scott Edwards: 

Ladies and gentlemen, that was a little comedy and a little visual non visual magic from Michael Finney. I want to thank you for listening to the interview and the entertainment. I want to thank you for joining us. Don’t forget next week another great show. Thanks for listening. Bye.

Announcer: 

We hope you enjoyed this episode of Stand Up Comedy you’re hosting him see. For information on the show merchandise and our sponsors, or to send comments to Scott. Visit our website at WWW dot standup your host and emcee.com Look for more episodes soon and enjoy the world of stand up comedy. Visit a comedy show room near you.

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