Mike DeStefano

It took a long time for Mike DeStefano to figure out that he wanted to be a standup comedian. Growing up in the Bronx, he aspired to be a "wise guy." At 15 he began using heroin. It took 16 years for him to get off the stuff, but he also wound up HIV-positive. He met his wife in rehab, only to lose her to the virus. His poignant tale of giving his wife a motorcycle ride, first around the hospital parking lot, then down the highway, can be heard on The Moth radio show's website. In Florida, he found work as a drug counselor, and while entertaining a convention audience discovered he could be a standup comic. You may have seen him this past summer on Last Comic Standing, where he placed fourth. His streetwise humor isn't for everyone, at least not at first. Even the comics he traveled with on the LCS tour bristled at times. "I've been punching cab drivers," he tells an audience, "to fight Al-Qaeda. It's a numbers game. If I punch a thousand cab drivers, I'm getting two or three Al-Qaeda." Sometimes the crowd will groan. "This is not a seminar," he explains. "This is comedy. It's meant to be funny. I'm not teaching you anything." 18+.
Feb. 22-26, 8 p.m.; Feb. 25-26, 10:30 p.m., 2011

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