Voted one of the "Top 10 Comics" by Backstage Magazine in 2004, Michele Balan is a brash, New York stand-up comedian who has performed on Comedy Central as well as in top comedy clubs, theaters, festivals and on cruises all over the country.
Michele was the Last Woman Standing on NBC’s Last Comic Standing and showed the men that funny is funny and forget the gender jokes.
Often told she was naturally funny, the Brooklyn native left a high-paying executive position at a computer company to pursue comedy -- even though comedy has never proved as lucrative -- and has been performing ever since.
She got her start as a "female female impersonator," doing lip sync impressions of Bette Midler. Now people tell her she is "like a female George Burns with many one-liners”. Her career has taken her to top comedy clubs from The Improv in Los Angeles to Caroline's on Broadway in New York, and from the Montreal "Just for Laughs Festival" to the "Dinah Shore Women's Weekend."
Balan has shared the stage with Kathy Najimy, Jennifer Holiday, Taylor Dayne, Harvey Fierstein, Bruce Vilanch and Nell Carter. In 1999, she recorded a CD at The Improv in Los Angeles which features Nell Carter singing a song parody that Balan wrote.
Balan recently recorded the critically-acclaimed DVD "LIVE Just Barely" at the famed Joe's Pub, home to the public theater and performers like Joan Rivers, Earth Kitt and Leslie Gore, for whom she just wrote a comedy segment.
Interview from Last Comic Standing:
Why will YOU be the Last Comic Standing?
This is a tough question as everyone has so much to bring, it's a really great competition. Of course, I would love to be the Last Comic Standing for a few reasons: 1 - To finally win something! 2 - To have some extra money to move out of my NY tenement building to a building with an elevator!
In this order, persona, timing and material (laymen terms: jokes).
What comedians do you admire and why?
The old borsch belt comics. For non-Jews who don't know what borsch belt means: Catskill comics such as Buddy Hackett, Phyllis Diller, George Burns, Freddy Roman. I admire that they were clean, funny and killed you with their one-liners.
Who do see as your biggest competition?
Everyone on that stage! And maybe even the audience.
What's the worst job you've ever had (other than stand-up comic)?
The one catering job I got when they asked me to work the coat room and it was August!