By the end of the 1980s, Michael Keaton was a bona fide leading man. He had made a name for himself in Hollywood with star-making performances in movies like Mr. Mom (1983), Beetlejuice (1988), and Batman (1989). Though it may have seemed that way to casual fans, he didn't become an entertainment juggernaut overnight. Before bringing iconic characters to life on screen, a young Michael Keaton performed stand-up comedy on stage.
Nerdist recently reminded us of Keaton's comedy roots by resurfacing a video from 1981. In the clip below, you can watch him perform his stand-up set for An Evening at the Improv. The popular TV series ran from 1981 to 1996, and it introduced such up-and-coming comedians as Adam Sandler, Rosie O'Donnell, and Martin Lawrence.
Keaton's routine covers some basic topics, from walking down the street in Los Angeles to stories from his childhood. But the most distinct aspect of his performance may be his physicality. After watching the energy he's able to convey through his eyebrows alone, it's easy to see the actor that would one day become Beetlejuice.
Even after becoming a sensation in the 1980s, Michael Keaton wasn't the obvious choice for one of his most famous roles. Tim Burton had to fight to cast him as Batman, and he beat out more conventional action stars like Kevin Costner, Pierce Brosnan, and Harrison Ford for the part. Here are more facts about 1989's Batman.