Mishka Shubaly's Fans Go the Meta-Mile | Phoenix New Times


Mishka Shubaly's Fans Go the Meta-Mile

A dedicated fan has a painting of him. Really!
If you're wondering what a sexy hyena looks like, now you know.
If you're wondering what a sexy hyena looks like, now you know. John F. Martin
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If you’re wondering what Mishka Shubaly looks like as a sexy hyena, you don’t have to imagine — someone else beat you to it.

The writer-musician-comedian, who has written six best-selling Amazon Kindle singles and plays music and performs comedy regularly, has a growing base of fans who spend ample chunks of time with him on the brain. That guy who rendered him like a hot hyena is just one of those loyal supporters.

Shubaly tours worldwide, so that has expanded his presence. Like getting tagged in a post to discover that he’s the subject of a painting hanging in someone’s living room in Spain.

“At first, I figured it was one of those apps that makes a picture of you look like a painting,” he says, “but then I realized it was an actual painting.”

click to enlarge
Mishka Shubaly
Jimi Giannatti
He’s down with that kind of dedication. “It’s like adults who are into model trains," he says. "If you’re an adult into model trains, you’re not a little bit into model trains — you have a secret part of your house that’s filled floor to ceiling with model trains. Those types of people; those are my people.”

Shubaly welcomes it all. He says, “A lot of my European fans come from this guy. He’s gay, and many of his fans are in the LGBTQ community, too. He’s also got a lot of friends who are furries (writer’s note: look it up). So, through this one conduit and the help of the internet, I have all these great LGBTQ, Spanish-speaking fans.”

Last year, Shubaly took care of a stray cat, and people couldn’t get enough. The cat, who found him during the remainder of her ninth life, was the feline embodiment of "road-worn," and it was probably a little hard to tell who of that union benefited more.

About that cat, Shubaly named her Minou, and when she died, fans posted their feelings along with well wishes. It didn’t end there. People sent pictures, they drew pictures of the puss or found other artful, and even humorous, ways to memorialize the short relationship.

“That was only four months, and it was intense — she was one of the great loves of my life.” Shubaly says, adding, “I think that’s the best and worst thing about me — I feel everything.”

Ding, ding, we have a winner. It’s not only that Shubaly is a deep-feeler — he’s certainly not alone there — it’s the lack of modesty that accompanies his infinite emotional well.

There’s a freedom in that unfettered way of living that can’t help but make his artistic outputs captivating and addictive.

It was hard-earned. Sober now for a decade, getting on the good side of his relationship with booze helped him rip off masks and filters to get to this transparent state.

Whether he’s writing about his battle with addiction and recovery, the frankness and the spot-fucking-on wit, explains the legion of fans.

It’s not just the relatability, though. Sure, folks need that — shared experiences can help lift people out of their holes. With Shubaly, though, it’s the current of hope and even innocence that permeates his endeavors that make his appeal so damn sticky.

The Phoenix resident has a slew of projects in the works. Shubaly has talked and written extensively about getting sober and doing so without the use of AA. Amazon got him to pen a book about it that you’ll be able to read early in the new year. He also edited singer-songwriter Mark Lanegan’s upcoming memoir, another forthcoming release.

His upcoming show, Island Time: A Tropical Island Experience, finds him headlining a night that features other Arizona comics. Shubaly will be armed with his guitar and throaty voice to help you mingle your tears and chuckles.

Aside from that, you can find him all over the internet, which right now is especially worth it: He got a new cat, guys.

Mishka Shubaly is scheduled to perform on Wednesday, November 20, at The Rebel Lounge. Tickets are $7 to $10 via the venue's site.
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