Detroit comedian Bret Hayden has performed with national comedians like Mark Normand, Gary Gulman, Shane Mauss, Matthew Broussard, and Luis J. Gomez. He has performed at numerous stand-up comedy festivals, including the Border City Comedy Fest, the Motor City Comedy Festival, Let’s Fest, the Beast Village Comedy Festival, the Crossroads Comedy Festival, and the Cape Fear Comedy Festival. This weekend, he emcees for Chris Porter at Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle in Royal Oak.
1. How do you describe your comedy?
I’m not a very relatable person so I would describe my act as different but still very much rooted in traditional standup. Once I learned people’s perception of me from a superficial standpoint, I started building my act around that idea.
2. How did you get started in stand-up comedy?
Before comedy, I pursued professional wrestling and quit. I’m almost 6’1” but still a smaller guy and found out quickly I was very injury prone. It put me in a deep depression being my first love. Comedy was my second and I tried it after realizing I had nothing to lose. Almost 6 years later, I’m glad I did. It’s responsible for a lot of great people and things in my life.
3. Who are some of the stand-up comics that inspired you?
My favorite comedians are John Mulaney, Mark Normand, and Gary Gulman. I’ve been lucky enough to work with 2 of them. They’re all so prolific. Mark asked me if I write every day because a lot of comedians don’t, which is kind of pathetic. They inspire me to stay focused on writing, performing, and getting noticed by working harder/smarter than everyone else.
4. Besides the major comedy clubs, there are also a number of other unusual comedy shows happening around Detroit. Tell us about a couple that people should go check out.
There’s a tri-monthly show at Cellarmen’s in Hazel Park called the Comedy Rumble. The next one is Thursday, March 28th at 9 PM for just $5 at the door. It’s 30 comedians doing 90 second sets and the funniest walks away with half the door. I forgot the guy who runs it but it’s a great show that everyone should check out. Instagram: @comedyrumble
Another one I’d reccomend is 313 Comedy every Sunday at Detroit Shipping Company. It’s a free show run by comics, for comics. Kyle Forsyth, Brett Mercer, Johanna Medranda, and Billy Zakolski do a great job of running it. They’re also starting to bring in big headliners like Guy Branum and Liza Treyger so people should definitely check them out.
5. What advice would you give to people in Detroit who want to try stand-up comedy?
Just do it. That’s it.