"[Mike] is very honest. It's hard to be up there and admit when you've made a mistake and to be naked that way in front of an audience."
He mostly sticks to the script. That's a credit to Mike being a good actor, to make things seem new and fresh and as though that they're improvised even when they aren't. Occasionally, he will improvise something so funny that I'll make sure that we write it in. That's a great thing about the performance -- a lot of permanent additions to the script started off as improv.
How do you hope audiences view Mike after the show?
The whole tone is designed so that you feel really good when you leave. You don't feel sorry for Mike. It's not a pity party; he doesn't want you to to take away that he's angry about anything. It's just his life, and he's okay with what it is.
He's very honest about that.
Right. He is very honest. It's hard to be up there and admit when you've made a mistake and to be naked that way in front of an audience. He has had such a complex life. I'm just surprised that he's as normal as he is. I'm super proud of him that he's able to do this.
Has Mike evolved as a performer?
Mike is a natural performer, meaning that he is more comfortable in front of an audience than he is when an audience isn't around. I would be like deer in the headlights if I had to be on stage alone, but Mike is super good at that. It's like it's been ingrained in him his entire life to be on a stage. He feeds off the energy of the crowd. His range as a performer is just expanding with each show.
How did you and Mike meet?
The first time we talked was over the phone. I was 13 years old. I'm 37 now. Mike knows my dad, and they called me from one of his fights in Atlantic City. I thought it was one of my father's friends playing around, so I hung up on him three times.
I didn't see him again until I was about 18 years old. He was always really respectful; it was a very innocent relationship. Then I bumped into him when I was 24, and that's when things changed. A couple of years later, we tried to date and it was a disaster. We tried to live together and it was horrible. We just both were going through some things, and we would always just bump back into each other. You can be with the right person at the wrong time and it's not going to work. This time, the timing was good for both of us.
It seems like Mike gives you a lot of credit for his success.
That's because I tell him to. I'm joking. He's a good husband. Everything that Mike is doing is because he wants to do it. We can't change anyone, but you can be an influence to change. He's influenced me to change on many levels. I feel like I'm a better person because of this relationship. I believe he feels the same way too. He's not consistently happy; no one is. But I do believe that gratitude is a key factor for both of us. Mike had a daughter that he lost. If we're not going to be grateful, we have to at least have gratitude for and honor her life.