Canada's Late Night Television King
One of the best things about starting my comedy career in the 1980’s in Canada was at that time The Canadian Comedy Community was small. The author, David Reuben, was lucky enough to watch, meet, and become friends with just about everyone in Canadian Comedy during the comedy boom of the 1980’s.
One person who always stood out in my mind as one of the most likeable comics is Mr. Mike Bullard. On stage he is funny, bright, and biting. Yet, every audience member felt like he was just talking to them like he was their best buddy hanging at the cottage.
Off stage, Mike is funny, current, and loyal to his family, friends, and colleagues. In fact, Mr. Bullard has reached the pinnacle of Canadian Show Business having his own successful late night talk show, and his friends are to this day the people he grew up with as a child in Mississauga ON.
Mike Bullard was born on June 12, 1957, in Etobicoke ON Canada. His younger brother is comedian/writer/producer Pat Bullard, and Mike’s older brother is Downchild Blues Band lead singer Chuck Jackson. At age 6yrs. old Mike and the family relocated from Don Mills ON to Galt now Cambridge ON, and when Mike was 14yrs. the family settled in Mississauga ON. Mike Bullard always considers Mississauga his hometown.
Growing up the Bullard household was competitive. Mike remembers; “the dinner table was a competition and by age 7, I was expected to know current events and have opinions.” It was also a rough and tumble house of boys, “good morning was a punch in the mouth.”
Mike Bullard’s father was a brilliant and funny man who spent his whole life chasing the retail carrot and never caught it. Mrs. Bullard thought she was funny, but really wasn’t. But she was tough as nails. Mike states, “my Grandfather was the toughest person in Toronto and mom was #2."
After high school, Mr. Mike Bullard got a full-time job at Bell Canada, starting out as an installer, moving to sales, and eventually promoted to associate director of corporate investigation. Mike says, “I was doing sales for two years and the director of corporate investigations did not want to give me the position. By chance he saw me MCing a show at Just For Laughs. The next day I got the promotion with him saying ``if you could handle that crowd at the show then you can handle corporate investigation.”
In July 1988 Mr. Mike Bullard first stepped onto a comedy stage at the original Yuk Yuk’s in Toronto. The first set went great, and he was hooked. The author, David Reuben, ask Mike if there was a lot of pressure as his brother Pat was an established Yuk Yuk’s headliner with a well written and crafted act? Mike states: “I went the polar opposite to Pat, and I already had MCing experience at Bell Canada at functions throughout Ontario and Quebec.”
While honing his comedy skills at Yuk Yuk’s Mike preferred to MC and only headlined when asked by management. To this day Mr. Bullard remains loyal to Yuk Yuk’s. “MCing prepared me for the late-night show, and tough crowds either make you or break you in comedy.”
At age 40, Mike Bullard became a Canadian Celebrity with his late-night show Open-Mike. “I think that I was prepared for Celebrity and am glad it happened later in adulthood.” He enjoyed the first season of Open-Mike in the studio behind Wayne Gretzky’s Restaurant in Toronto ON. In fact, Mike fought tooth and nail to not move the show to the historic Masonic Temple studio near Bloor and Yonge in Toronto ON.
Mr. Bullard was loyal to all the employees of both Open Mike and The Mike Bullard Show. They worked hard and enjoyed each other's company. One of the first hires was bandleader Orin Isaacs who Mike interviewed by saying “he is Not Black Enough and slamming the door in his face.” When Mike opened the door both of them were laughing and Open-Mike had a bandleader.
With all his success on television and radio there are some constants that stand out. Mr. Bullard is loyal, hard working, a gentleman, fights for the underdog, is damn funny, and remains one of the nicest people in Canadian Comedy. The author, David Reuben, posed the question to Mike: do you prefer television or radio? “I like radio, it is more freeing than television.”
At the time of writing this article Mr. Bullard has proven his innocence in his well publicized legal battle. He is back on stage doing what he does best, making people laugh. Future projects include a second book, and a 6- part mini series about his beloved Yuk Yuk’s.
The little pleasures in life are important to Mr. Mike Bullard, riding his motorcycle, swimming, exercising, reading, and spending time with friends and family.
To find out more about Mike Bullard visit https://www.facebook.com/mike.bullard.733 and if you see him riding his motorcycle or at the gym say hi. Mike is such a nice guy you will end up inviting him to your cottage.
Mention you found about Roy Daye on www.thecomedygreenroom.com