Farmington Hills native Garri Madera is the first to admit that he is not always the funniest guy in the room.
But he still found his way last month to the stage at Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle, a Royal Oak club that draws nationally-known talent.
"Family-wise, I think I was definitely one of the funnier, goofier people," said Madera, who works at Starbucks in Farmington Hills. "But when it comes to friends, I am by no means the funniest one."
A graduate of University of Detroit Jesuit High School (after attending St. Fabian and Dunckel Middle School), Madera describes his humor as "observational and personal", based on what he sees from day to day. He keeps a notebook with him to record ideas, which he later fleshes out into a routine.
Madera credits his friend Aline Hong with encouraging him to pursue a comedy career. From there, he said, it was just a matter of pursuing his craft. He has taken classes at metro Detroit clubs Go Comedy and Planet Ant. Stand-up comedian Bill Bushart has also been important to his career, he said, noting many Detroit-area comedians take Bushart's stand-up classes.
But most of his education, Madera says, has come "the basic way, trial and error". He has more than a year's worth of experience at Joey's Comedy Club in Livonia. The Comedy Castle appearance marked the first time Madera emceed a weekend show, and Saturday night was sold out, with an audience of about 400.
"It went well," he said. "I would give myself, on a scale of one to 10, a six. It was a jump from emceeing an open mic, and it was pretty incredible."
Madera will be performing on Feb. 9 at Dooley's Tavern in Mount Clemens, Feb. 10 at the River Front Hotel in Grand Rapids and Feb. 15 at Funny Side Up in Plymouth. In March, he'll be part of Laughfest in Grand Rapids, and he just got word that he'll be part of a stand-up comedy competition hosted by WMYD TV20.
"I'd love to be a full-time comedian," Madera said. "But there are a bunch of comedians out there who may work two weeks out of the month, and they still need a day job."
Learn more at garrimadera.com.