Mike Bullard accomplished something no other Canadian had before: hosted Canada’s first truly successful nightly talk show. Running for six unprecedented seasons, “Open Mike” (1997), was one of the longest running late-night talk shows in North America. The Gemini award-winning series was the most-watched late-night talk show in Canada’s largest market, comparable in popularity and success to late-night heavyweights Letterman and Leno.
One of Canada’s most recognized celebrities, Mike Bullard is a multi- disciplinary comic who has published a book, Open Book: Little Thoughts from a Big Head (Doubleday), and has also recorded a CD, Stick 2 Comedy (BMG). Recognized as “Favourite Talk Show Host” by the readers of TV Guide, Mike Bullard has come a long way from the grind of Canada’s comedy club circuit, where for over a decade he cultivated a reputation as one of the quickest and cleverest club wits in the country. A native of Mississauga, Ontario, Bullard worked full-time at other occupations while simultaneously pursuing his comedy career, playing over 1400 gigs in his spare time. Indeed, it was only weeks before “Open Mike” launched in the fall of 1997 that Bullard quit his day job at management job at one of the nation’s biggest corporations.
”Open Mike” debuted quietly in November of 1997 on The Comedy Network and went on to be picked up by the conventional CTV network in 1998. Appearing on both networks, Bullard’s razor sharp, often self-deprecating humour, insightful jabs at the human condition and his ability to engage in unscripted banter with audience members made Open Mike a favourite with television viewers and in 2002 he was voted one of the top 10 Funniest Canadians in a nationwide poll.
The series gradually achieved status as a key component of the entertainment scene in Canada. Often credited with fostering a Canadian star system, the show has featured a mix of celebrity guests from the worlds of film, television, stage, sports, music and politics on both sides of the border. Notable guests have included Nicolas Cage, Moby, Tommy Lee, Enrique Iglesias, Kathie Lee Gifford, Tony Bennett, Nelly Furtado, Nickelback, Burt Reynolds, Barenaked Ladies, Joan Rivers, Bo Derek and Prime Minister Jean Chretien. While he has enjoyed his success, Mike Bullard remains a Canadian “everyman”, tirelessly working on behalf of dozens of charities and giving back to the community. He makes over 150 appearances a year for organizations such as The United Way, Big Brothers and Sisters, Foster Parents Plan, Casey House, The Humane Society and the Hospital for Sick Children, among others.