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Issue Date: January 2010

Most Interesting People 2010 - Mike Polk

by Jennifer Bowen, Katie Dragga, Emily Garvey, Lauren Hennen, Christina Ipavec, Brittany Moffat, Kim Schneider, Colleen Smitek, Beth Stallings, Carly Toyzan, Erick Trickey & Jim Vickers; edited by Colleen Smitek
Mike Polk
Comedian | 32

Why he’s interesting … The struggling comedian (his words, not ours) works to get laughs doing stand-up and as part of the comedy sketch group Last Call Cleveland. But he’s best known for his Hastily Made Cleveland Tourism Video, which depicts dreary shots of our city set to a cheesy song. Love it or hate it, the video and its sequel have became an Internet phenomenon.

On creating his video … Polk was downtown with his camera and simply “started pointing it around, waving it at things and singing nonsense things as well.” Half an hour of editing later, the first video was born.

Video backlash … “I think anyone with half a brain recognizes it’s a parody.”

What success brought him … “I don’t have any more money. My family doesn’t regard me any better. I’ve gained maybe about 10 pounds since then — I don’t know if that’s related, though.”

Sketch vs. stand-up … Sketch. “If something bombs, it’s not entirely your fault.”

LeBron’s not leaving … “I think he will stick around. He has the adulation of the whole city. If he goes to New York City, he has to share that with so many people. There’s so few interesting people in this town that you are interviewing me.”

But if he did … “Cleveland might have to close. You’ll have to put a big sign up on I-90 that says, ‘Cleveland’s closed now. Proceed to Toledo.’ ”

His favorite thing about Cleveland … The people. “There’s a certain kind of person here — a strength and toughness that we’ve adopted or been born into — that is inspiring.”

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