Belleville native Mike Pace has been busy making people laugh all over the world for the last 25 years — 10 trips to Iraq and Afghanistan, aboard cruise ships, at corporate events for the likes of Coca-Cola, Apple and the National Football League, and you might have seen him on HBO a few times.
This weekend, he’s bringing his show to Hey Guys Comedy Club in Fairview Heights. Shows are at 8 p.m. Friday and 7 and 9:15 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $12 ($6.50 for military) for the first two shows; $7 and $4 for the late show Saturday at www.heyguyscomedy.com
“Ah, yes, Belleville. The land of basements with water in them and above-ground pools,” he said, waiting to catch a plane from his home in San Diego to Denver. “It will be good to get home to family.
Mike, 57, attended Belleville West.
When did you graduate, Mike?
“Let’s not talk about that,” he quipped. “Let’s just say I drove a Pacer.”
Mike’s standup is a mix of jokes and morphing from character to character to tell stories. In one of his bits on YouTube, Mike said a clean house to a woman is like foreplay. ‘“You did the dishes,’ she says, ‘Take me now, you Stallion.’”
Mike is divorced and has three kids, all of whom he uses in his comedy.
“Everybody’s fair game,” he said. “Once my ex-wife wanted to hire a maid. But I found when the maid was coming, my wife spent the whole day before cleaning the house. So I just told her the maid was coming and saved a hundred bucks.”
Mike has worked with top names in the music industry, including Bob Dylan, Natalie Cole and B.B. King. He has shared the comedy stage with such comedy giants as Chris Rock, Ellen Degeneres and the late Rodney Dangerfield and Robin Williams.
Who was Mike’s comedy idol?
“I’ve had several, but they’re all dead. I’d have to say Johnny Carson.”
Mike’s latest project is an independent movie about a heist.
But for now, he is looking forward to coming home to Belleville.
“I miss family and friends and the honesty of the Midwest,” he said. “I’m going to a Cardinals game Thursday night. I miss pork steaks and Steak ’n Shake. Anything Belleville.”
Don’t be surprised if there is a Belleville joke or two during his show.
Nickfest in O’Fallon
Christmas isn’t the only big day for St. Nick in O’Fallon.
St. Nicholas Church has a big bag filled with presents for those attending the second annual NickFest this weekend on the church parking lot. Rides and games for the kids. Bands both nights. A 5K run. Batman and Queen Elsa. Pulled pork and chicken kabobs — to name a few.
Admission is free to the festival that runs from noon to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The lineup includes 14 games for children and adults, including Idoodit, bingo and basketball toss, plus face painting, a cake wheel and a Newlywed Game.
Friday’s main stage schedule is Beyond the Blue Men’s singing group at 5:30 p.m. and Smash Band, performing the best of the ’70s through ’90s. Saturday on the main stage, it’s the St. Clair School Choir at noon; DanceStation State Street Dance Company at 1 p.m.; The Newlywed Game at 3 p.m.; O’Fallon Township High School Jazz Band at 5 p.m.; and Whiskey Dixon will perform modern southern rock at 6 p.m.
Kids will get a kick out of meeting their favorite characters, including Queen Elsa and Princess Anna, Cinderella and the Fairy Godmother, Batman and Robin, Tinkerbell, Peter Pan and Captain Hook, beginning at 5:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, choose from smoked pulled pork, chicken kabobs, hot dogs, hamburgers, brats, funnel cakes, fried Twinkies, fried Oreos, nachos and more. There are gluten-free, nut-free and egg-free options for those with food allergies.
New this year is a Wine Tasting Garden featuring wines from around the world, and a bocce ball tournament (register at st.nicholasofallon.org).
A 5K Run/Walk is Saturday morning, with same day registration at 8 a.m. The fee is $25.
Advance carnival ride tickets are available for purchase at a 20 percent discount on Thursday at the church office.
They’ll be dancing in the street in Mascoutah at the annual Springfest & Dance on Main Street.
It’s open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday downtown with music, food, games and children’s activities. Lunch starts at 11 a.m. Dinner is served until 9 p.m. Take your pick from pork steak dinners, burgers, fish sandwiches and ice cream.
There will be a corn hole tournament (sign up at http://themacsports.org), free bounce houses for kids, and the Boy Scouts will let you take your best shots with Silly String.
The U.S. Air Force Band of MidAmerica Roots in Blue will perform from 7 to 11 p.m.
The Mascoutah Farmer’s Market will have its grand opening from 3 to 7 p.m. in front of Citizen’s Community Bank. It will be open through October from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Saturdays at Main and Railway streets.