Drew Michael interview: ‘Red Blue Green’ writer and performer
“Whether it’s mental health or personal issues that I struggle with, that’s always been a big impetus for writing the material in the first place,” says comedian Drew Michael about his latest special “Red Blue Green” and his candid approach to stand-up in general. Those emotions are the “catalyst to even get on stage in the first place.” They “drive the need, or if I’m being kinder to myself, the desire to perform and to express these things.” We talked with Michael as part of our panel of 2022 Writers Guild Awards nominees. Watch our exclusive video interview above.
The HBO special addresses topics ranging from pop culture to relationships and ultimately to the idea of comedy itself. “I’ve been doing stand-up for over a decade and so when you do something, whatever it is, you just become aware of the mechanics of it, whether it’s explicit or implicit,” he explains about the special’s deconstruction of comedy tropes. “You start to see not just the patterns in joke structure, but also maybe the patterns in theme and approach. And also in yourself — my own patterns, my own tendencies, and I’m always trying to go against stuff that feels comfortable for me.”
The special has earned him a WGA nomination for Best Comedy/Variety Special. It’s his third bid from the guild. He was previously nominated in this category for his eponymous stand-up special in 2019, and before that he won Best Comedy/Variety Sketch Series as a member of the “Saturday Night Live” writing team in 2018. But he tries not to put too much emphasis on being “externally validated.” It can be “a very dangerous slope to slide down” if you take your personal struggles and “invert” them into “something that’s lauded” by others. You need to also be “challenging yourself to work out this sort of cycle that gets you into these things in the first place.”