Michael Konik is an author, singer, painter, improvisational comedian, and television personality.
He was raised in Fox Point, Wisconsin, where his schoolteacher mother, Renice, and his autodidact father, Eugene, taught him at an early age how to read, how to think critically, and how to appreciate the blessed planet we inhabit. His parents encouraged him to become a “Renaissance Man,” particularly one that had utterly no talent for science or calculus.
Michael attended Nicolet High School, in Glendale, Wisconsin, where one of his classmates was the jazz singer Tierney Sutton (Telarc Records). Performing with the blossoming chanteuse in the school’s annual variety show affected Michael deeply; it was then he realized that a musical realm of imagination and sentiment existed beyond the horizons of teenaged angst. Nonetheless, Michael spent the year after high school graduation doing unspeakable damage to his vocal chords performing and recording with the seminal 1980’s punk rock band The Clitboys, whose rebellious anthem “We Don’t Play the Game” (Feedback Records) remains a favorite with angry adolescents around the world.
At New York University’s School of the Arts, Michael attended the Lee Strasberg Theater Institute, where he primarily slumped in metal chairs, moaned evocatively, and was berated by sadistic instructors. (He also performed in countless plays and musicals with a number of people who are today very famous.) At NYU, Michael studied art history, constitutional law and began his writing career. By the time he earned his BFA in Drama, he had already become a working essayist and cultural critic, and since he had proved himself incapable of being hired for a traditional job, Michael dedicated himself to making a life as an ink-stained wretch.
For nearly 15 years Michael Konik’s writing appeared in hundreds of newspapers and magazines on every continent, including the New York Times, Travel & Leisure, Sports Illustrated, and virtually every special interest publication extant. For more than five years he was the gambling columnist for Cigar Aficionado, where he earned the honorific “Dean of the World’s Gambling Writers,” and for more than ten years he penned the golf column for the Delta Air Lines in-flight magazine, SKY.
After the publication of several critically acclaimed books, including “The Man With the $100,000 Breasts” (1999; Huntington Press/Broadway Books) — one of the Wall Street Journal’s Five Best Gambling Books of All Time –and “Telling Lies and Getting Paid” (2001; Huntington Press/ The Lyons Press), Michael revisited his performance roots, joining the Second City Los Angeles-based improvisational comedy troupe, The Los Hombres, and the vocal jazz quintet Crescendo (Devon Records). In 2003 he recorded two albums: Crescendo’s latest collection and a solo project with his own jazz trio, the Tasty Band, a collection of standards called “There’ll Be Some Changes Made.”
His three latest books are “In Search of Burningbush: A Story of Golf, Friendship and the Meaning of Irons” (2004; McGraw-Hill), “Ella in Europe: An American Dog’s International Adventures” (2005; Bantam/Dell), and “The Smart Money: How the World’s Best Sports Bettors Beat the Bookies Out of Millions” (2007; Simon & Schuster). He’s also written the novels “Becoming Bobby, “Instructions for My Funeral,” and “Year 14.”
Michael lives in Hollywood, California, where he tends to an organic vegetable garden and backyard hummingbird aviary.