From Under the Stairs to the Top of Macdougal: Mike Cannon and Mike Feeney Turn Major Corners

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I was super excited when I first read that Mike Cannon and Mike Feeney were performing at Zanies in Chicago and then recording a live podcast the following Monday, because I’m a huge fan of the “Irish Goodbye” podcast. I couldn’t wait to reach out and talk with the Mikes about the what they are doing. Mike and Mike started Irish Goodbye when they realized they made great writing partners and great drinking buddies. The name came from the fact that they are self described hard living idiots that routinely leave parties without notifying anyone. And Feeney adds, when I ask him, “Purposefully, almost out of spite.” I sat down with Mike and Mike so they could explain the reasoning behind their Irish Goodbye, going deep sharing painful pasts, truly exciting projects they’re promoting now, and how to get Robert Kelly and Jim Norton to appear topless in your next comedy special. And they tell me the truth about Luis J. Gomez.

The Interrobang: I have to tell you that I love the name as well as the idea of the Irish goodbye in general because I have the exact opposite experience from that. I was raised in an Italian goodbye household!

Mike Feeney: Where you have to kiss everybody?!

The Interrobang: Yes! And I have always been secretly jealous of people who can do the Irish goodbye and just leave a party or any social situation without notifying anyone! Maybe one day I’ll have that kind of moxie.

Mike Cannon: Mike and I both have different philosophies to it because Feeney is a sociopath (Laughing) so he likes leaving and then having people worry about him. He’ll get text messages asking if he’s ok and to fulfill the “Irish goodbye” he won’t respond until the next day, even if it means worrying his friends.

Mike Feeney: Once I’m gone, I’m out. That’s it. Whereas Mike leaves, takes two steps from the bar and then texts everybody, “Hey, Just to let you know, I left! Tee hee hee!” Which is NOT an Irish good bye!

Mike Cannon: That’s me getting acknowledgement. The whole point of saying goodbye is to get that one last bit of attention from everyone before I go home alone.

The Interrobang: That attention is the function of the behavior and you have found a way to still get it without having to physically say goodbye to anyone! I love it!

Mike Cannon: Those texts are a methadone to an actual goodbye!

Mike Feeney: Um, also… You don’t go home “alone”… You have a wife and a child…

Mike Cannon: (Laughing) Let me just get one last bit of attention before I go home to the darkness and talk to no one… You know, like my actual loved ones?!

The Interrobang: Ah yes, speaking of your family, congratulations on the baby boy! How old is he now?

Mike Cannon: Thank you! He is 10 weeks old! I know… Way too young for me to be touring! I had to leave. I mean, this is my job. This is how I make money, so if I’m not doing it, we are losing money. Even though we will be partying and having fun, it is certainly business!

Mike Feeney: I was just eating Italian food, drinking red wine, watching the Yankees game… I’m having the time of my life out here!

Mike Cannon: Work is tough! (Laughing)

The Interrobang: I’m sure having your friend out here with you makes it a lot more fun. How did you guys meet?

Mike Cannon: We met in the basement of a bar called The Village Lantern on Bleecker St. Back in the day Andrew Schultz was down there, we were down there, Akaash Singh was down there, a ton of really good promising comedians were there.

The Interrobang: You were the “Comedians Under the Stairs”!

Mike Cannon: Exactly! We were the weirdos that were not even close to being ready to perform on Macdougal. So there we were, in the dank basement of the Village Lantern taking swings!

Mike Feeney: Yes. In the abandoned basement of a college bar.

Mike Cannon: I haven’t been there in a while but they’ve fixed it up and I hear they have a full time comedy room and it’s pretty good now.

The Interrobang: That’s so cool that you both came up together in New York. Are you both originally from there?

Mike Feeney: I’m from Long Island, so right outside the city.

Mike Cannon: I was born in Manhattan and grew up right outside of West Point until I was 9. Then I lived in Rockland County until college.

The Interrobang: Did you know Luis J. Gomez back then?

Mike Cannon: I did not! Luis is from North Rockland and that high school has like 5,000 kids and then my school only had like 1,000.

The Interrobang: What is it like having Luis J. Gomez for a boss?

Mike Cannon: If that gets published in any way, I’ll kill myself! (Laughing) I refuse to acknowledge that I work for him in any capacity! He has the pleasure of taking a percentage of our podcast because we allow him to!

The Interrobang: Well that’s the truth but there has to be consideration on both sides for it to be a contract so I am sure there is some good there.

Mike Cannon: Of course. Working with Luis has been fantastic and the whole set up that GaS Digital has created and developed down in the Lower East Side is far greater than what we thought it was going to be, especially when we saw the space unfinished.

Mike Feeney: It was just a tiled studio apartment and they built up walls and made it into a two podcast recording studio and hang out.

Mike Cannon: They turned it into this beautiful modern space and they have an entire other unit that is just entirely there for merch. GaS Digital is a streamlined business and it’s impressive.

Mike Feeney: Anytime we have a guest on, they are always impressed by the place.

Mike Cannon: I always say, despite everyone’s best efforts, Luis J. Gomez is going to be important to New York comedy.

The Interrobang: Yes, He is important to New York comedy! I think that the stage is the only safe space that exists in comedy and what Luis and GaS Digital provide is that safe space to create comedy. You don’t ever have to worry, or be afraid to take chances because they are going to have your back no matter what.

Mike Cannon: That is one of the great things about being a part of that network. It’s just great to have other people with the same irreverent style that are just saying “Fuck it!” as well and it feels less alone. And in comedy, you can feel crazy sometimes. Especially when you perform to an audience of people who hate your shit and think you’re a mutant for having certain thoughts. That in and of itself is a punishment and being out there, you feel very much alone.

Mike Feeney: Yeah… Just like when Mike goes home…

Mike Cannon: (Laughing) I just try and talk to my wife and my child and they both blink at me as if I don’t exist… It’s great!

The Interrobang: You and Mike have a real love/hate relationship and that really comes through on your podcast but even when things get tense between you guys, you never stop “yes, anding” each other. At what point in your friendship did you decide to partner up and create a storytelling podcast together?

Mike Feeney: We were at a bar show in Queens and I went up to Mike to talk to him about writing a web series together, which we ended up working on and turning into a pilot…

Mike Cannon: And unsuccessfully pitching…
Mike Feeney: Yeah, we got in the room.
Mike Feeney: After working together on that project, I felt that we had pretty similar tastes and we clicked.

Mike Cannon: And both of us are such long winded assholes in life and on stage, we’re just natural story people. We are constantly taking and working out long form jokes until they become pieces on stage, so we figured it would be fun to do that on a podcast… We’re also fans of Mark Normand and Joe List and what they’re doing is not that dissimilar to what we’re doing… We’re basically stealing (laughing)… I’m just kidding…

The Interrobang: Storytelling is a podcast format and I will say this, to pay homage to Mark Normand and Joe List is a great thing. One of my favorite things about what Mark and Joe do and what really makes Tuesdays with Stories so wonderful is their willingness to just lay everything out there on the table, herpes and all! I truly believe that is what has made their podcast so good for so long. What qualities do you guys think keeps people coming back to the “Irish Goodbye” to listen to your stories?

Mike Cannon: I would say, the exact same thing.
Mike Feeney: We are honest to a fault.

Mike Cannon: And people like “Always Sunny” and other shows like that and enjoy the characters and follow the show and watch their trajectory. Then sometimes it’s not even about the story as much as it is about the characters and the development of jokes based on who that character is as a person. It’s the same for us and our dynamic. That aggression on my part, that mischievous needling on his part and how we interact and also know how to elevate the comedy through that is what people hopefully see and keep coming back for and will come out to live shows to see.

The Interrobang: One hundred percent!!! With us sitting here and this being my first time interviewing you, I already have a ton of these “sub-questions” that the counselor side of me is dying to ask you… Like, how is your relationship with your dad doing? Have you guys made up?

Mike Cannon: We have not. He has not seen our kid, but who knows… And that’s some of the stuff that we talk about on the podcast where I am extremely transparent. If there’s one thing I really hate, it’s omitting truths, especially with a podcast. People want to get to know us and it would be a lie if I was not exposing a certain part of my life that has had a profound impact on me.

The Interrobang: One or the things that definitely made an impact on me was your story about watching Goodfellas with your wife and saying the scene when Henry Hill takes a beating from his father was a snippet of your childhood.

Mike Cannon: Oh yeah, I was lying in bed with my pregnant wife and I’ve known her since I was 10 years old, and she’s gotten the stories but I guess to protect herself, she didn’t necessarily wrap her head around how severe it may have been, so when I was said that to her, she started crying. Even Feeney was surprised to find out that I have depression. Which is odd since we’ve been friends for nine years. He thought it was a joke when I told him!

Mike Feeney: Yeah, because he’s more anger based and I occasionally get the “saddies.”

The Interrobang: His depression presents differently. You get the “downsies” and he gets angry. Was comedy and laughing a safe spaces or coping skill you used when you were a kid growing up in a house like that?

Mike Cannon: Absolutely! My mother battled depression when I was a kid and I’m told stories constantly by my older sister about trying to make her laugh from the time I was two years old and having the awareness that like, something’s going on over here and I’m uncomfortable and I want everybody to be happy. So that kind of came into play and my dad is hysterical. Despite him being a wild child, shit head, and us having our issues, he’s super funny, super smart, and super personable. You would really enjoy him in a party setting.

Mike Feeney: He’s like a “head-lock” guy.
Mike Cannon: He’s a big, Irish, fun time. Both sides of my family are very funny. Comedy was part of us.

Mike Feeney: Both of my sisters were musically inclined performers. I sang with them as well but was always more the guy who would run into a wall or say something crazy and make people laugh. It’s always been around.

The Interrobang: Comedy was just always in you! You mentioned earlier that you are long winded on stage and I read that this tour is honing your hour for your special. Are there going to be any stories in that we can look forward to hearing in your hour?

Mike Cannon: I would say that my act is all jokes and all I care about are the jokes and jokes in between and the jokes that push the story. My material is kind of built in chunks, so a lot of it is stories mixed in with observations made on the personal thing that’s happening to me, mixed in with just wild fits of fancy and anger that I kind of tangentially go off into. I would say that there are a fair amount of stories, some are a little filthy. I’m very proud of the hour. I think it’s growth from the first one and I think the visual special is very cool. I have some cameos from Joey Diaz, Robert Kelly, Rich Vos, Jim Norton and a couple other people. Those guys are long-time heroes of mine so the fact that they agreed to be a part of my special is just so amazing.

Mike Feeney: Also, they weren’t aware that they were agreeing to anything at the time they agreed to be in it!

Mike Cannon: Yeah, I really “Erin Andrewsed” them into this one!

Interrobang: You recorded them agreeing to be on your special on a peep-hole camera!

Mike Feeney: It was like an episode of Cops. You got them to sign afterwards!

Mike Cannon: I got Bobby nude in his hotel room, playing bongos on his belly. Norton was just stretching his tits down to below his belt and Vos was shining his rings. It’s pretty sweet.

The Interrobang: So then they had to do it. It sounds as good as the Russian pee tapes. You’ve got these guys for anything you want! (Laughing)

Mike Cannon: It’s the best! (Laughing) Mike Feeney just recorded an album and it’s going to be out the same week I record my special during the New York Comedy Festival.

The Interrobang: That’s awesome! Do you have name for it yet?

Mike Feeney: Thank you! I recorded it last month and yes, it’s going to be called, “Rage Against the Routine”.

Mike Cannon: It has amazing cover art too!

Mike Feeney: It’s going to be coming out during New York Comedy Festival, when Mike is recording his special, which will be great! It’s going to come out like a day or two after his taping.

Mike Cannon: So we are both going to be relentlessly promoting these things! I am going to be recording this hour special during New York Comedy Festival at the Village Underground. The New York Comedy Festival is actually presenting the tapings and I have two shows.

The Interrobang: From being the “Comedians Under the Stairs” on Bleecker to recording your special at the Village Underground!

Mike Cannon: Yes, I really turned the corner… Literally! (Laughing)

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Sara Dahms

Sarah Dahms is a comedy superfan hails from Chicago and travels all over the country checking out the best comedy everywhere.
Sara Dahms
Sara Dahms
Sarah Dahms is a comedy superfan hails from Chicago and travels all over the country checking out the best comedy everywhere.