Mike van Acker has spent most of his adult life trying to stay away from stand up comedy. It was easy when he left high school – there was no stand up comedy in Brisbane. He became a singing telegram performer instead. Keen wasn’t he?
In January 1992 Mike was minding his own business contract cleaning when his acting agent called, reminded him who she was, and told him the ‘Sit Down Comedy Club’ was about to open in Brisbane. It was a defining moment for him. As he stood in his trusty storeroom surrounded by mops and Chux supa-wipes (the extra absorbent type) he received ‘The Comedy Calling’ – a strange, dizzy feeling that seemed to bring stomach cramps as well. Two weeks later, as he failed miserably on his stand up debut, he realised it was not the comedy calling, but the ammonia calling. It really wasn’t a well-ventilated storeroom...
A few years later, having got a bit good at comedy Mike sold his contract cleaning business and began making a full time living as a performer. To facilitate this, there may have been a time when he regularly dressed up as (among other things) A clown, a spy, a waiter, and, at one memorable gig, the Scarecrow from the Wizard of Oz. What can we say? He was young... He needed the money.
Mike continued to avoid doing stand up where possible – he even took a year off to sing and 'dance' in Dr Shagnsty’s Comedy Clinic – a theatre restaurant on the Gold Coast, but always found his way back to stand up. A stint as the audience warm-up comedian for Channel 7’s ‘Family Feud’ did little to dampen his enthusiasm, and after his fourth successful tour of New Zealand’s comedy clubs (both of them) he decided to give the street theatre and magic gigs a big miss, and gracefully accept that he and stand up comedy were going to be together a long time.
In 2006 Mike again flirted with the idea of leaving Stand Up, when he took a year off (year off? Never worked so hard in his life!) to do Breakfast Radio on Brisbane's B105. You'll still catch him occasionally on ABC Radio's 'Panel of Experts' (with Richard Fidler, Katrina Davidson and Stewart Davidson), and on Triple M from time to time too!
Mike's list of foreign countries worked in reads like a list of foreign countries worked in, and includes England, USA, Indonesia, Singapore, Hong Kong, Malaysia, and New Zealand. Some people are impressed by stuff like that. He’s done heap of corporate shows too, for companies at least as impressive as other comedian’s clients list – maybe even more so!