He is fast, funny and probably the best veteran of the North American funnyman circuit. In addition to his successful and well-received live performances all over North America, Mike MacDonald has starred in national television shows and comedy specials. As the son of a career Canadian Air Force officer, MacDonald learned at an early age that humour would make him popular. "I guess I'm one of the few Air Force brats who found out that comedy was an easy way to make new friends quickly," says MacDonald. "Since we moved often, I had to find new ways of breaking into a new gang of kids."
Born in Metz, France, MacDonald spent the first 15 years of his life on military bases throughout France, West Germany and Canada. When his father retired from the military, the family settled in Ottawa where MacDonald attended high school. It was there that he began to develop a serious interest in theatre and performing. "I used to perform in all the school shows," says Mike, "and then play music with my friends." After high school, MacDonald, as an accomplished drummer, toured the country with a rock group sponsored by the Canadian government. When the tour ended, he returned to Ottawa and spent the next few years in various jobs including drive-in restaurant employee, ballroom dance instructor, and teacher's aide for mentally retarded children.
In 1978, at the age of 23, and at the suggestion of a friend, MacDonald began to frequent clubs where he could try his own brand of stand-up comedy. "They were mostly folk clubs,” says Mike. "You can imagine how shocked the audience was when I went on stage. It was totally unexpected and unwanted." But persistence kept him going. MacDonald moved to Toronto and began to perform throughout the city on a regular basis. As his reputation grew, so did the job offers. MacDonald quit his day job in order to make his sole living from comedy. He began to perform throughout Canada and made frequent forays into the United States.
Mike’s stand-up comedy works just as well on TV as it does live. Television appearances include such shows as Late Night With David Letterman, The Arsenio Hall Show, Just For Laughs, Showtime's Comedy Club All-Star Show, A&E's An Evening At The Improv and Comedy Central's The A List. He has hosted both the Gemini Awards and the Just For Laughs 10th Anniversary Special for the CBC and starred in a sitcom for the network called Mosquito Lake. Mike has also starred in three critically acclaimed specials for the CBC in Canada and for Showtime in the U.S. His first special, Mike MacDonald; ON TARGET was the first one-hour prime time special by a stand-up comic in the history of the CBC and easily won its time slot. This success led to Mike’s next special, MY HOUSE! MY RULES! which also won its broadcast prime time slot and was nominated for two Gemini Awards for "Best Writing" and "Best Performance" in a comedy special. Meanwhile, the Showtime version of MY HOUSE! MY RULES! was nominated for two Ace Awards --"Best Comedy Special" and "Best Writing in a Comedy Special". His third Showtime special, Happy As I Can Be, was originally slated as a half-hour show, but when executives screened the footage they immediately expanded it to an hour. Happy As I Can Be, in its one-hour format, also achieved a number one rating when it aired in prime time on the CBC.