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Orland Park comic on fast track to success

The life of a comic isnt easy. Most have to work years and years just to score a spot as an opening act to a bigger name performer. But that is not the case of 27-year-old Michael Palascak of Orland Park. This comedy newcomer, whos only been in the biz for the past couple of years, is on the fast track to success. His next stop is headlining Zanies Comedy Club in St. Charles Jan 6 to Jan. 9.

Known as a hot spot for stand-up comedy in the Midwest, Zanies has been around for more than 30 years. So headlining at any of its three Illinois locations, either in downtown Chicago, St. Charles or Vernon Hills, is a major feather in a comedians cap.

Zanies is the gold standard for Chicago comedy clubs, said Cyndi Nelson, manager of Zanies St. Charles location. It has been here forever and all the greats have worked here. If you are headlining Zanies, there is not a club in the world that will think you arent qualified.

Palascak first came on the scene when he won the Taste of Chicagos stand-up contest two years ago. Sponsored by Zanies and Sierra Mist, the contest consisted of two rounds with more than 50 comics competing.

Michael [Palascak] did great the whole time, Nelson said. He was young and had shaggy hair and talked about living with his parentshe just had a different style. He was fresh and something new.
Winning the Taste of Chicago contest has single-handedly launched Palascak into the national comedy scene. Since winning, his list of accomplishments reads like a comedy best-seller. He has been seen on TVs Comedy Central Live at Gotham City and TBSs Very Funny Show.

He was also the winner of HBOs Comedy Festival Lucky 21, and was named Chicago Readers Stand-Up Critics Pick for 2008.

When he is not on television, he balances a busy tour schedule playing everywhere in the United States from college campuses to comedy clubs.

Before being swept away to a new city each week and gracing the stage at countless venues, Palascak got his funny bone first tickled while he was a student at Xavier University in Ohio.

I always wanted to act or write or perform, and in college I wasnt good enough to play sports, he said. I found a book on stand-up comedy and read it. It wasnt the best book, especially when you have no idea of what you are doing, but this lady [the author] said I could do it, so I did.

With his desire to make people laugh and his newfound book knowledge, Palascak looked for every open mic night he could find and started perfecting his routine, which ultimately lead him to the Taste of Chicago.

Stand-up comedy can be an interesting way to live, Palascak said. You are constantly getting rejected on stage and in life. But I read The Secret [by Rhonda Byrnes] and I was more positive and wanted to make things happen. That is the attitude I went in with at the Taste of Chicago.

Nowadays Palascak spends every day writing and tries to work in new material whenever he can.
Sometimes it is well received, other times, not so much. Either way, it doesnt faze Palascak, who embraces every opportunity to learn and improve.

There are levels of bombing, it is not all a wasteland, he said. There is some middle ground in between. I really am happy to be doing it, and bombing is just a part of it and when it happens, it is kind of special.

As for the future, Palascak is content to stay in Chicago, where he feels enormous gratitude toward the city that put him on the map.

For more information, go to www.zanies.com. For more information on Palascak, go to www.michaelpalascak.com.

By Elizabeth Vassolo | Triblocal.com

Photos submitted by Michael Palascak

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