Support Local Journalism. Donate to Cleveland Scene.

Mike Paramore 


click to enlarge mike_paramore069.jpg

Ken Blaze

Long before he found himself on stage in front of a mic, Mike Paramore really wanted to play football. Like many Pee Wee football players, he wanted to make the NFL. Thing was, coaches along the way had similar ideas, including the staff at the University of Akron. They recruited Paramore, who played linebacker at Garfield High, with the idea that he could lose weight and kick some serious ass at strong safety.

"I was kind of a reckless hitter," says Paramore, who went to 10 different schools in 12 years while growing up here, as he sits at the downtown Corner Alley bar, munching on a taco hamburger stacked with tortilla chips.

Decked out in a black Jordan T-shirt and sweats, Paramore still possesses that defensive swagger even though he long ago blew out his knee, his NFL dreams dashed in the process.

"It was kind of depressing," he admits.

While living in Columbus where he was recovering from surgery, he "stumbled across" an improv team and thought he'd give it a shot since he was always "the funny guy."

"I actually hate being the center of attention, but improv was way out of my comfort zone," he says. "Being a comedian is contrary to who I am as a person. I haven't decided if I get to be who I really am when I'm on stage, or if I get to get away from who I really am. I'm still trying to figure that part out."

He put together a five-minute standup set that served as his tryout for the improv team. It went well. People laughed. But Paramore, who says he was shaking during the entire routine, swore he'd never do standup again.

And yet, friends coaxed him into competing in a "funniest person" contest in Columbus and then in Cincinnati. He placed second both times. As a reward, he received a week-long hosting gig. He's gotten gigs ever since.

"It was a snowball effect," says Paramore, who now performs regularly and books himself into clubs throughout the country.

"My material has always been life observations," says the comedian, who last year released the comedy album, The Things We Tell Ourselves. "I feel more comfortable talking about race now that I'm more comfortable on stage, which isn't very comfortable at all. I still have to have a Long Island before going on stage. That's come more with me gaining a voice. I never broached the subject of race until the last couple of years."

While he's not exactly sure where this is all going to take him, there is a certain satisfaction he gets from even being able to consider the idea that one day he could make a living off comedy. And the attention? Well, he's still that shy kid at heart.

"I would be okay with being famous. It's been said to me that I will be great in an unscripted show interacting with people, but my goal is to be able to support my family using comedy," he says. "I think it's awesome to be able to travel around the country and sell tickets using your name because I was on a show, or be famous just for your comedy like a Bill Burr or Brian Regan. But I would be perfectly fine being the wealthy, working comic that nobody knows, if that's possible." — Jeff Niesel

We’re keeping you informed…
...and it’s what we love to do. From local politics and culture to national news that hits close to home, Scene Magazine has been keeping Cleveland informed for years.

It’s never been more important to support local news sources, especially as we all deal with the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic. Almost everything Scene is about -- our stories, our events, our advertisers -- comes down to getting together. With events on hold, and no print distribution for the foreseeable future, every little bit helps.

A free press means accountability and a well-informed public, and we want to keep our unique and independent reporting available for many, many years to come.

If quality journalism is important to you, please consider a donation to Scene. Every reader contribution is valuable and so appreciated, and goes directly to support our coverage of critical issues and neighborhood culture. Thank you.

Latest in Cleveland People


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Readers also liked…


Never miss a beat

Sign Up Now

Subscribe now to get the latest news delivered right to your inbox.


© 2020 Cleveland Scene: 737 Bolivar Rd., Suite 4100, Cleveland, OH 44115, (216) 241-7550
Logos and trademarks on this site are property of their respective owners.

Website powered by Foundation