036: How To Become A Comedian (Michael Jr.)

Michael Jr.

Have you ever heard a comedian and thought “I can do that?” Maybe, maybe not. But our guest for show number 36, Michael Jr., had that very thought when he was a teenager and there was no turning back for him!

Michael is a touring comedian today, he travels the nation visiting comedy clubs but also visiting prisons, homeless shelters, battered women and abused children shelters. The reason he visits these non-traditional comedic spots? He believes in giving people an opportunity to laugh, rather than looking to get laughs from people. We discuss that mindset shift and so much more in this episode of How’d You Get Into That?.

MORE ABOUT THIS SHOW

Michael Jr. grew up in the Lansing, Michigan area and was always an entrepreneur at heart. By the age of 14, he was that kid at school selling candy and other goodies to his fellow classmates. When he was 19, he owned his own oil changing business. He loved being a business owner and the freedom it gave him, but there was more to his life and he knew it.

One night while at a movie theatre with his friends, the film stopped playing. While the movie theatre crew tried to get the film back up, one of Michael’s friends dared him to go on the stage and tell a joke. Being the young man that he was, Michael took the dare and took the stage.

He had reworked a dirty joke he’d heard and made it more audience-friendly so anyone listening would enjoy it. He told that joke and an entire room full of disgruntled movie-goers, laughed! He was elated. When security came in to get him off the stage, everyone in the audience stood up for him. A group of bikers lobbied for him and an African-American woman said if they removed him from the theatre, she would demand her money back! In that moment, Michael understood the power of making people laugh.

THE FINER DETAILS OF THIS SHOW:

  • Why was he never the class clown?
  • What’s his focus when he gets on stage?
  • True or false: he’s the quiet person at a party.
  • What was his first exposure to a real comedian?
  • Why he waited to tell his family and friends about his comedy career.
  • And so much more!

And so began his comedic journey. He spent the next few years honing his chops on stage, but he kept it quiet from his family and friends. He wanted to have his act down pat before having any of them see it. Michael Jr didn’t want them there to see him bomb or make mistakes…it would be too awkward he thought.

In those years he was perfecting his comedy before sharing it with his family, he did receive a fortunate break. One night he was waiting in line to get a chance to perform at a club. The line started in the early morning hours and you had to wait until evening to see the manager about getting a chance to be on stage. Performing at this club was a coveted gig and it was worth the day-long wait so Michael stood there in line with everyone else, biding their time for their shot at a spot on the stage.

While they were all waiting, George Wallace walked in. Everyone in line knew George had first dibs on that stage. But Michael had built such a reputation for himself that the manager asked him if he’d like to go on before or after George. It was his first real break and he was thrilled.

Michael attributes that break to his persistence, his time and energy spent perfecting his comedic talents – but also to the mindset shift that he had during those early years. He realized if he went on stage to give people an opportunity to laugh (as opposed to taking laughter from them), then he was coming from a giving place. And the more he tapped into that mindset, the more his audience and demand grew. It was a win-win for everyone and it is the foundation from which Michael has built a solid comedic career.

Please join me in thanking Michael for sharing his knowledge biscuits! It was great to chat with him about his comedic career and what you can learn from his experiences. He truly is a comedic talent who gives from his heart. Let us know what you got from this episode in the comments below or send a Tweet.

Tweetable: “Comedy is a tool for what you’re supposed to present to the world.” Michael Jr.

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3 Comments

  1. I’m totally going to dig this show! Just downloaded and can’t wait to listen! Michael Jr. is great!

  2. What Michael said about his comedy being the ‘seasoning’ on his gift is so true for all of us too in what we do.

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