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Clean Comedy with Michael Jr.

Risen Magazine: You’ve been doing comedy for a couple decades, and you had a very clear ocus on how you wanted your comedy to be done, as far as clean and family-friendly, yet funny. That is very, very hard. I say all the time that the reason we have these R-rated, raunchy comedies is because no one can write anymore, and that’s their crutch. So for you, how did that decision get made, and then how do your find funny?

Michael Jr.: Well, it started out with me just wanting the quality of the comedy to be really, really strong. So I was doing comedy. It was already clean, but then once I said, “Okay, you know what? I really like this church thing. I’m going to do what I can to walk and follow Jesus,” and then I got invited to do comedy at churches. Well, I thought to myself, because, a lot of times, Christians at church specifically are so hungry to laugh, they’ll laugh at some stuff that’s just okay. If they’re at the club, they’re like, “Look, I paid money to be here. You better be funny.” It’s a whole ‘nother mindset.

I decided to come up with this thought process, where I said, “Any comedy that I do at a club has to be clean enough that I could do it at a church, and any comedy I do at a church has to be funny enough that I could do it at a club.” So my comedy actually is the same comedy that if you ever see me at a church or doing Sunday mornings, it’s the same content that I would do when I played Vegas or if I’m at a club or if I’m doing a theater. Nothing changes. I may tweak things a little bit based off of the individuals who are there and what they may need, because I’m asking the question, “What can I give?”

But then even after I had kids, I said to my kids, “Anything I ever say onstage, you can repeat it.” This was when they were really young and even before I was a Christian. So that kept me accountable, and then once I got my relationship with God, I was like, “Yo, this is how I roll. This is what I do.” People ask if it’s a little harder to write clean. I don’t really know, because I’ve never tried to write dirty. It’s not something that I try to … I just look for what’s funny, and, like I said, whatever you put in your heart is going to show up. So if that stuff’s going to your heart, if you write comedy, that’s kind of what’s going to show up. It also is, as you said, a really great crutch, because if something’s not funny, you can just add a little four-letter something on there, and the people will react, but they may not necessarily be reacting with pure laughter. They’re just reacting out of a little shock or whatnot.

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