Looking to Be 'More Than Funny': The Revelation that Changed Everything for Comedian Michael Jr.
- [Announcer] When MichaelJunior takes the stage,
- My name is Michael Junior.
I'm a do some jokes.(laughing)
- [Announcer] Laughter follows.
- And ultrasounds come in color now,
which is ridiculous, Iknow it's a black baby.
- [Announcer] His talenthas put his name in lights,
landing appearances on the Tonight Show,
Jimmy Kimmel, and Oprah.
Still with all his success,
the comedian changed hisapproach to his craft.
His focus is now on what he can give
and not so much on what he can get.
- Normally, when a comedian gets on stage,
we wanna get laughs from people,
and I felt like a shift took place
where I felt like God was saying,
Instead of trying toget laughs from people,
I want you to give theman opportunity to laugh.
So this changed everything.
So I go on stage thatnight, we have a good time,
but it's different, likeI'm way more relaxed,
the audience seems tobe way more responsive,
and then, when I walkoutside, I see a homeless guy.
I had never seen a homeless guy
outside this club before ever.
But that doesn't meanhe wasn't there before.
- Yeah, wow.- It just means
before my mindset was toget laughs from people.
So asked myself, I waslike, what about him?
How could I give him anopportunity to laugh?
And then four days later,this lady at one of my events
came up to me and she said,hey, would you consider
coming to the homeless shelterwhere I work at to do comedy?
And I was like, wow.
No, I'm not.(laughing)
No, I never even thought of such a thing.
Why would you do that?
So, I actually went to thatshelter and did comedy,
and then it was so powerful,so what we decided to do,
we added that to our tour.
So when we would go to a city,
we'd find a homeless shelter or prison,
abused children's facility,and we would do comedy there
before the big comedy show that night.
- [Announcer] Prisons,shelters, and children's homes
have been regular stops on Michael's tours
for about nine years,
often sharing toughstories from those visits
on his larger comedy stages.
- And then, when it came timeto film my comedy special,
I was like, why don'tI take my camera crew,
we go out, we find the bestthree stories that we can,
and we put 'em in the middle of the jokes.
This isn't a Michael Juniorthing, this is about a family,
people y'all never metbefore heard y'all's story.
We decided to do a comedy show fundraiser
so y'all could have this.
- [Announcer] Michael'sidea made this movie
titled "More Than Funny."
- We filmed it in front of 4,000 people
at Hope Community Church inMemphis, but then suddenly,
boom, you're in the woods,
- Yeah.- And helping homeless people.
And then, boom, we'reright back to laughing.
- I'm John with Hands of Hope.
We're--- Oh, my God.
- [Announcer] The movie is now a movement
with a challenge from Michael Junior.
- A comedian will use anyresource, any talent he has
to make an audiencethink in one direction.
Where the punch line occurswhen he changes that direction
in a way they're not expecting.
And when they catch on to that change,
that's actually themreceiving the punch line,
and the results are revelation,fulfillment and joy,
but it's expressed through laughter.
I feel like God has shown me
that life is very, very similar.
There's a set up, andthen there's a punch line.
Your set up is the fact thatyou're married, you got a car,
you got a house, your set upis about what you've received,
but your punch line is aboutwhat you're called to deliver.
And if you don't know your punch line,
you just got all of this set up,
you'll think what you need tobe fulfilled is more set up.
If I could just get married,
if I could just make more money,
if I could just get more laughs,
but you really need to knowis what is your punch line.
- [Announcer] In other words,
how can you make a positive impact?
And with punchliners.com,
Michael has created an online community
to help people find their own punch lines.
- When you catch on to this change,
you have received the punch line.
- [Announcer] It's alife changing connection
Michael's seen on stage
and following one show in particular.
- After the show, security says to me,
there's a guy who wants to talk to you
and he's really adamantabout talking to you.
I'm like okay, so I goout to meet this guy
and you could tell his eyes are puffy
'cause he's been liketearing up or something.
And then he says to me, hesaid, I gotta talk to you.
He said the reason Icame to this comedy show
is 'cause my life is so heavy right now.
He said, I didn't know what to do,
so I just came to this comedy show.
He said, but after listeningto what happened here
and what's going on, he said,
I'm a fugitive of the law,
and I feel like I should turn myself in.
Would you go with me to tu...
Like I'm blown back,like what in the world?
I'm doing jokes andsharing a little bit of me,
and as a response, this guy says,
I think I need to get mylife right, turn myself in.
Now, the comedian in me is like,
was the comedy that bad?(laughing)
Was it that, what did I do wrong?
He wanna go to prisoninstead of being here.
But it was such a powerfulmoment, and I realized,
like, laughter opens up hearts,
but if I'm a open up hearts,
I want to make a depositthat's gonna make a change.
- [Announcer] Efrem Graham, CBN News.