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Michael Jr: Parenting, Quarantine & Selfie Dad

Risen Magazine: Parenting is no joke, especially during quarantine. I have two kids. I know that you have five. So how are you holding up?

Michael Jr.: Pretty good. We got these little chains that we put around their ankle, and just tying them up to their beds and stuff. It works out great.We just can’t let any pictures leak out, because people would get upset about that.

RM: I can’t help but think the shelter-at-home shared experience has got to provide so much material for future shows. Do you think that something is funny when it’s happening, or does it take some time, and then you look back and you’re like, “That’s going to get a laugh”?

MJ: I think it’s funny immediately, but most people who would listen to it probably won’t. So I have to wait until they’re prepared for what might be funny. I would say with regards to the virus, we’ve probably got another 20 days or so. Then it’s going to start being hilarious.

RM: Selfie Dad comes out this Friday, this is your new film, set it up for us.

MJ: Selfie Dad is a film about a dad. He knows how to be a dad, but he doesn’t understand the why behind being a dad yet. He’s caught up in himself, and then he used to be funny. He used to do standup comedy, but he’s kind of going through an almost midlife crisis type of thing. He just kind of loses his way. Then a friend says, “Hey, you should probably try reading this book I got.” He’s like, “I ain’t going to be reading a book or whatever.” So he actually takes this journey where he kind of starts to understand what’s really important, and he makes some really cool adjustments.

My favorite part, really, about this film isn’t the fact that it’s… it’s not even a comedy film, but because they brought me into it, we were able to create a lot of comedy in the midst of it. The really cool thing about the producers and the directors of this film, is that a lot of it ended up being improv… not comedic improv so much, but really story improv. On the spot, we were able to come up with different scenarios that really brought the story to life.

RM: I felt there were a lot of important themes in it, and I feel there’s takeaways for everyone in the family that’s watching it, especially now, during a time where you’re kind of forced to have quiet and think, “What do I want to do with my life? How do I want my family to look?” Maybe speak a little bit along those lines.

MJ: Yeah, I think it’s important. One of the big things that is a huge takeaway from this for myself as well is in the story, is that the dad reads the Bible. He starts reading the Word because somebody recommended it, and he wasn’t really into the Bible before. He went to church, but then when he starts reading it, it gets into his heart, and then it starts to become revealed in his walk.

Here’s the thing. He didn’t even have to necessarily do anything. It just started showing up, which is the truth in real life. Whatever you put in your heart is going to show up in your walk. I’ve learned that in a significant way. So once I started putting the Word in my heart, my walk started looking differently. So the same thing happens in his movie. It just happens to happen in an entertaining way that’s also very tangible in a way that I think not just dads, but daughters and moms and sons will really be able to take a hold of this and run in a cool way, too.

Kids don’t want to always sit around and listen to the Bible. That stuff is boring. It feels boring. It feels like, “Oh, I’ve got to read. I don’t understand it. This is the weirdest thing ever.” I know I felt that way. When I was a kid, going to church was miserable. Dude is up on stage, yelling at people. He’s got some phlegm in his throat he’s trying to get out. So we purposely made this film so it wasn’t all relig-y, but it was just really about the story, and because I got to be in it, we got to add some funny to it. So I think people are going to get a lot out of it.

Selfie Dad debuts on-demand June 19.

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