By Connor Beach
Early in his career, comedian Billy Gardell lived in Huntington for a short time, testing his comedic chops at the storied East Side Comedy Club where Eddie Murphy and Jerry Seinfeld also got their start on stage.
Gardell, 49, is returning to Huntington this weekend when he is scheduled to perform a standup routine at The Paramount.
Best known for his role as Mike Biggs on the CBS sitcom “Mike & Molly,” Gardell said he “always had an affinity” for comedy.
Gardell starred in “Mike & Molly” for six seasons alongside fellow comedian and actress Melissa McCarthy, and he said the two developed a close bond.
“It was amazing working with Melissa; she was like my sister,” Gardell said. “There’s a closeness to the cast on every show, but we really developed a family-type atmosphere.”
Although Gardell said he enjoyed acting in the sitcom, standup has always been “my first love.”
“You just have to find your own voice,” Gardell said.
The funnyman described his comedic style as “working class,” and said that he tries to find the humor in what happens in day-to-day life.
“I think it’s important to try and find a universal theme in my standup,” Gardell said.
“Even though there may be differing opinions in the audience, I try to get people to laugh as a group.”
Gardell said he continues to tour and perform standup comedy because there is something addicting about writing a new joke that, when it goes over well with the crowd, keeps him getting back on stage.
Drawing on his own life experiences, Gardell said his jokes often focus on the very relatable themes of marriage, parenthood and growing old.
“I like to think that I get my audience to switch off for a while and just enjoy the show,”he said.
Gardell is set to take the stage on Saturday night at 8 p.m.; doors open at 7 p.m. Tickets for the show run from $19.50-$49.50 and can be purchased at the box office or online at Paramountny.com.