Traverse City Events: There’s not much better than breakfast for lunch—unless it’s breakfast for lunch wtih Allan Havey. We met up with the world-class comedian at the Omelette Shoppe near Cass and State, where what began as a quick QA turned into a private comedy show in itself. Coffee and wit a-flowing, we could only imagine what Allan has planned for the Traverse City stages. Catch his last performance of the festival tonight at Old Town Playhouse, 6pm.
I know that this is your first visit here Allan, but downtown Traverse City has really transformed for the festival. Anything catch your eye yet?
I think I need to go on the ferris wheel. But did you see the sledding hill? I haven’t gone sledding since I was 26. Go ahead and laugh, I grew up in Miami. But when I lived in New York, my girlfriend was from Rochester. She took me home one weekend and we were in the garage when I was like Is that a real sled? Really though, I was like a kid. She couldn’t get me off that sled all day.
A kid, eh? And what exactly were you like as a kid—funny?
Okay here’s a good story for you. So, my parents were two religions: My dad Catholic, my mom extremely Catholic. I went to Catholic school, with kindergarten in 1960. I was 6 years old. Two eighth-grade boys put up this giant tape recorder with mics the size of your head. The nuns told us that we were all going to speak our names into the recorder and whatever boy and girl spoke loudest and clearest would play the priest and the nun in the kindergarten ceremony. The kids were going up and just mumbling into the mic. I wasn’t one of those kids. I remember the tape being played back and hearing the mumble.. mumble… ALLAN HAVEY! The whole class turned around and looked at me. And you have to remember, it was a different day back then. Children were seen and not heard. For me to get all this attention from adults while I was on stage, I was hooked. They were looking at me, smiling, and laughing. I loved it. It was like God took a branding iron, and was like You’re going to be a performer. So after the priesthood I took up being the class clown.
Sounds like you found a natural niche. Did anybody help you develop that along the way?
There was one person who had a huge influence on my career—an acting professor from the community college back in Miami. I actually went down there a while ago just to make sure he knew how much I really cherished what he did. More than anyone, he exemplified confidence on stage and owning what you’re doing.
And has there ever been anything else you wanted to do besides comedy?
Massage therapy. That’s what I wanted to do. I was getting tired of waiting tables when I was in New York and all my girlfriends told me I had good hands. I got fired at the bar and so I started studying up on massage therapy. But right at that same time, stand-up starting taking off for me and I was getting busy with all the gigs.
Was there a specific gig when you knew you’d arrived?
The first time I really killed it on stage was in New York. I was doing open mic at a bar in Westchester. Got a 500 dollar tip that night… Turns out it was actually a mob bar. I’d say it was a good place to have a good show.
For more Northern Michigan events, restaurants, and vacation ideas visit MyNorth.com!