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Clean Comedian Comes to Town Looking to Make a Difference

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BRADENTON – Michael Jr. has been under the bright lights in the biggest cities. The comedian's humorous jokes and observations have landed him on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Comedy Central, The Jimmy Kimmel Show, The Late, Late Show, BET's "Comic View", Comedy TV and more. But his Stand-Up and Give Comedy tour, which comes to Bradenton this weekend, will not only provide a dose of hysterical clean comedy, but hopefully unite local communities in providing non-traditional aid to homeless shelters.

One of the most prominent clean-comedy artists in the industry, Michael Jr. is currently on a multi-city weekend tour that will bring him to First Church of the Nazarene in West Bradenton this Sunday. But while he's here, Jr. will also visit the Manatee County Red Shield Shelter to perform a private comedy show for the men and women who are living in the emergency shelter for the homeless, something he does on each stop of the tour.

If all of this sounds a little bit of out of the norm, it is. But the comedian's unique approach to his craft sheds a lot of light as to how he wound up on the road less traveled. The vast majority of stand up comedy is obviously the adult-oriented, anything goes variety. When asked how he ended up in the family-friendly category, Michael Jr. explained that it wasn't as deliberate as one might expect.

"I was 17 and me and some friends were at a movie theater, and there was a problem with the projector and the screen went white and the lights came on in the middle of the film," he explained. "One of my friends, a German exchange student, dared me to go up to the front and tell a joke. Well, you know, when you're 17 and a friend dares you, most of the time you're going to do it. But the only joke I knew was a dirty one, and I had the 12 seconds or so it took to walk up there to basically rewrite the joke in my head and tell it clean. So I did and everyone liked it. I was standing up on this platform in front of the screen while the whole place was laughing and I just loved the feeling. So my comedy has always sort of developed from that perspective."

When asked how he got the idea to try and help the homeless, the comedian gave some insight as to how he approaches his craft. He said that comedians tend to look at comedy as a way to get laughs from an audience, but that at one pivotal point early in his career, he began to look at his routine as a way to give people an opportunity to laugh. 

"Once I started coming at it from that direction, things changed," said Junior. "It kind of took all of the pressure off of me once I stopped trying to get something and started to give. Everyone needs to laugh and if you give them the opportunity, most people will take it."

Michael Jr. says that once he adopted the new attitude, his show really began to click. But one day he saw a homeless person outside of a venue and it struck a chord. Everyone needs to laugh. He struck up a conversation and said that it was so rewarding to see someone in that situation benefit from a little laughter. 

"When you have thousands of people laughing and cheering, that's a great feeling, but when you're in a shelter or a prison or something and can manage to bring that to even four people in the audience who are going through a hard situation, just because you gave them an opportunity to laugh, that's just an amazing feeling."

Michael Jr.'s Stand Up & Give Comedy Tour

First Church of the Nazarene

1616 59th St. W., Bradenton, FL 34209

Show starts @ 6:00 pm

Tickets: $20.00

Tickets at www.MichaelJr.com or call (800) 481-2761


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