Comedian Michael Kosta Left the Midwest, But Michigan Never Left Him

In his debut one-hour stand-up special for Comedy Central, the Ann Arbor comic reflects on his Michigan roots and his journey to appearing regularly on “The Daily Show.”

In his debut one-hour stand-up special for Comedy Central “Detroit. NY. LA.,” Michael Kosta wanted to trace his journey in show biz by returning to the state where he got his start — Michigan.

“My first open mic was at the Heidelberg bar in Ann Arbor on a Tuesday night,” says Kosta, who filmed part of his special at the Gem Theatre in downtown Detroit. “I slowly made my way to Mark Ridley’s Comedy Castle” in Royal Oak.

Eventually, Kosta’s journey in comedy led him to Los Angeles, doing appearances on late-night talk shows. From there, he’s found his way as a regular on “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah,” playing an overly-confident reporter with expertise in everything and nothing at the same time.

Click the audio player to hear the full conversation with comedian Michael Kosta:

Even though Kosta is currently living in New York and had to leave his home state to find success in his career, he says there’s also a piece of Michigan and the Midwest with him.

“It’s an interesting question — do you have to leave Michigan to make it in show biz?” says Kosta. “I felt like, as a stand-up comic, I needed to go to the coasts. I’m glad I did because it exposed me to more and helped me get better.”

Michael Kosta’s stand-up special “Detroit. NY. LA.” airs on Friday, December 11 at 11 p.m. on Comedy Central.

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  • Ryan Patrick Hooper
    Ryan Patrick Hooper is the award-winning host and producer of CultureShift on 101.9 WDET-FM Detroit’s NPR station. Hooper has covered stories for the New York Times, NPR, Detroit Free Press, Hour Detroit, SPIN and Paste magazine.