Radio. Television. Film. Stand-up. Michael Perry is a consummate entertainer. Almost 20 years after his arrival in Las Vegas, he has carved out a niche that only he occupies. He’s a DJ on the weekends, hosting the morning slot on Hot 97.5. He’s been in a feature film, All Things Fall Apart with 50 Cent. He has hosted different comedy rooms in Las Vegas over the past decade and currently holds down Tuesday nights at Luna Lounge.
And the man most people know as Mike P is now part of the cast of BET’s late-night comedy series The Xperiment (Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at 11:30 p.m.). We sat down to discuss his multimedia whirlwind and why Vegas is the best place for him.
How did you end up in Las Vegas? I came to UNLV on a football scholarship at age 21. I was a wide receiver and kick returner. I played ’97-’98.
Did you start doing comedy out here? I was already doing comedy in LA. After my football eligibility got messed up, I said, “I’m going to get on the radio for being funny, and then I’m going to start my own comedy room and blow up.” And that’s what I did.
How did you find your way into radio? I took a radio course at UNLV, and the general manager of Power 88.1-FM was coming into the class. I rushed him and told him I needed a job. He told me to see him tomorrow. I was in his office at 5 a.m. so when he got to work I was there. He said, “What are you doing?” I said, “You said tomorrow.” He let me intern for two years. One day somebody got sick and no-called, no-showed. I was there. They put me on. I never looked back.
How was radio different back then? Back then radio was awesome. We got to pick our music. I loved being there because I would play the stuff I wanted to hear that I knew people liked. You had somewhat of a playlist, but you had so much freedom. You got to be a DJ for real. Now it’s just automated.
Why didn’t you stay in LA after your move there in 2007? Everyone is out there on a pipe dream. All the comedians are working all these comedy rooms trying to get discovered, and that’s not how it goes. You’re out there broke, going on bullsh*t auditions that aren’t going to do anything for your career.
When you came back, you started your own comedy room on the Strip. I did Poetry Nightclub for two years. Anybody in black comedy worked my room. It took a lot of hard work. I could focus on comedy during the week and radio on the weekend. My name is still heard. My voice is still heard.
Why do you continue to host your own rooms? What a room does, it develops your energy. It takes you to a whole new level. Most comics get five to 10 minutes to do their thing. If you have your own room, you just did two hours’ worth of comedy.
How would you describe The Xperiment? The show is basically videos, sketches and interviews. Funny stuff you see on the Internet and then we give our own comedic commentary.
Is TV the ultimate goal for you? I want to be a movie star. The TV checks though, they’re nice. After a movie, you are back being unemployed.
What’s up with your current comedy spot—Mike P presents the Funny Team—on Tuesdays at Luna Lounge? That’s the hardest room in America. I do no introduction. I like going out to a stale-ass, hard-ass crowd. Some people are just in there to smoke hookahs. They don’t even know it’s a comedy show. And other people come in and want to laugh. And you gotta be funny. It’s incredible.
Do you want to get another comedy room on the Strip? I’m getting back on the Strip. I’m demanding that. [But] I like the spot I’m at. We’re like family over there. No matter what happens I’d still want to be over there.
Is Vegas it for you or do you think you’ll move again? How could you leave this city? F*ck that. It’s been too good to me. Everybody comes here. This is a hell of a city. If you own this city, you own everywhere. When I come through, it’s Mike P from Vegas.
The Knockout Comedy Super Show With Marlon Wayans, Bruce Bruce, Corey Holcomb, Mark Curry, Capone. June 27, 8 p.m., $67-$109. Axis Theater at Planet Hollywood, 702-777-6737.