Atlanta-based comedian Mike Albanese finds humor in the awkward moments of life

Mike Albanese is an Atlanta-based comedian. (Phil Provencio)

On the new “City Lights” series “Speaking of Comedy,” Atlanta’s funniest locals share insights on the perks and perils of their profession. Our inaugural conversation for the series features comedian Mike Albanese.

Fleeing home to Georgia after his love life went to shambles in Florida (“a shocker, to find out that somebody’s life wasn’t doing great in Florida,” Albanese says), he reached out to a friend in comedy and decided to try his hand in the field. Albanese says some of his most significant challenges in standup comedy come from himself.

“I’m my own worst enemy, my own worst critic,” said Albanese. “The world is open to anybody who wants to put anything out there; you don’t have to wait for somebody to do it for you. So it’s really just me, getting out of my own way.”

He professes that he gets inspiration for his material by placing himself intentionally into awkward or uncomfortable situations.

“When you don’t want to be somewhere, you’re going to find the ‘funny’ in those moments,” he said.

His willingness to embrace discomfort pays off; Albanese loves in-the-moment crowd interaction and can riff through almost an entire set while having improvised, off-the-cuff fun with his audience. He says of his reclaimed Atlanta home base, “There are so many opportunities to stand up and get good … You can hide as a comedian in Atlanta and just cut your teeth and fail over and over and over again, without really much pressure.”

Albanese will be performing Nov. 18-19 in Lawrenceville at Aurora Theatre. More on Mike Albanese can be found at