Both blink-182 guitarist Tom DeLonge and Chicago comedian Mike Maxwell understands something very clearly: Work sucks. They know.
Where DeLonge expressed that sentiment in one song, Maxwell has done something on a much larger scale: he has created The Anti-Boss, a one-man show which takes a look into the world of the workplace. The show, which will happen next on July 7th at The Comedy Shrine in Aurora, has been showcased at clubs and festivals. Mike answered a few questions for us over e-mail, and because of his knowledge of workplace frustrations, we CC’d his answers to all of the wrong people.
#1. First things first: For people who don’t know anything about it, what is The Anti-Boss?
The Anti-Boss is a lightly interactive, mock new hire orientation. I run an R-rated corporate onboarding as the VP of Sales who actually comes clean about all the bullshit that companies hide or lie about in the interview process.
#2. Clearly, to draw from this, you must have worked some real crap jobs for some real crap bosses. Tell us about your worst day of office work.
I was a legal assistant for a personal injury/worker’s comp lawyer in the Loop. He was a rude old man who needed a translator for most of his meetings. One day, I was in a case meeting with two clients, and the attorney kept interrupting my translation as I wasn’t going as fast as he thought I should. He began berating me in front of these injured guys all while I knew that he couldn’t communicate with them let alone use a computer. I left that meeting to witness the other partner hit on the female legal assistant and the wife of the older partner telling her to dress more professional. We then went for lunch and plotted our resignations.
#3. You’re a fantastic stand-up comedian. What made you decide to start making The Anti-Boss? And how was writing this show different from how your write your stand-up?
(Well thank you!) Over time, my coworkers would come see me do stand up and then ask why I don’t talk about work. I felt my views on work and corporate culture weren’t lining up with my stand up style. Then after a few times running a new hire training, I realized this was all a load of crap. I then started building out the framework of my own PowerPoint training and not holding back on anything I experienced. What I like about my take on corporate culture is that there is a vibe that only applicants are lying when really both companies and applicants aren’t being completely honest.
Writing this was much different than my stand up. First off, I let myself swear as much as I do in my head while at work. Secondly, I wrote the show as a character that is an elevated version of myself and other managers in my past. Revising the show had to be post performance as there is no open mic to work one man show.
#4. What is your next big project? Do you want to make a full return to stand-up or do you have another one-man show in the works?
I am currently looking to have stand up and The Anti-Boss run equally. The next big project I have is a film and tv pilot. I like the direction my stand up is going and same with The Anti-Boss. Those avenues just need more stage time to grow. It’s exciting to think about where I can go with more writing focused projects.