Michael Jr Comedy
People always ask me what comedians I like to watch. Answers include Jim Gaffigan, Louis CK, Ellen, Jerry Seinfeld, Mike Birbiglia... love them. But I have a new answer. Michael Jr Comedy. And it's not that I just want to watch him. I want to follow him. Yeah... like a real creep.
It's been a long journey to find my own voice on stage. In fact, I still don't think that I have settled into my own skin yet. I am known as the church guy. Pastoral Degree, former youth pastor, chapel speaker, toured 7 years with the Panic Squad Improv Comedy etc. But to be honest, I don't like the label Christian comedian or clean comedian, because there is an implication that I AM BETTER THAN YOU. And the truth is, I am not. I find inappropriate things funny. The rub is this... I want to be inclusive in my material. I want kids and adults to enjoy the show. I want the uptight conservatives to feel free to be free and have fun. That said, I don't want to be safe. I don't want to water down the joke to be liked, because as I have read elsewhere, "if you are afraid of what others think of you, your art is meaningless". There are difficult things that need to be addressed and I don't want to be afraid to go there when the time is right. BUT, there is a difference between being gratuitous vs. pushing the edge for the purpose of poignancy. I always ask "do I need to say this?" I am mostly faithful to the answer. Blah blah... still processing. Bottom line: at this stage I am able do whatever, wherever and be appropriate for the audience I am in. I am still one of the 'cleanest' comics the clubs have seen and churches & Christian schools keep having me back.
Back to Michael Jr...
“If I’m in a club, my material has to be clean enough to work in a church. If I’m in a church, it has to be funny enough to work in a club.” Michael Jr. Comedy
I love how he says it. I love how he lives it. He doesn't come off as holier than thou... he just is who he is. Funny to all. Furthermore, it's not just about the jokes. It's about giving of himself to others. Check this video:
My buddy Leland Klassen also gave me this golden nugget that I have added to workshops. Paraphrase: "You can't go on stage expecting your audience to validate you. YOU are there is to entertain THEM. If you want something from them, they will sense it and you will lose them".
We need to be givers on stage and givers off stage.