Laughing with Purpose
Comedian Michael Jr. discusses laughter as a medicine and how using your personal gifts can help heal others.
Questions for Discussion and Personal Reflection
- Do you believe that we all have unique gifts and talents?
- Would you feel more fulfilled if you intentionally used your gifts to help others?
Did you know walking is an Olympic sport? Like, you walk. Just walking. Apparently, I've been training for the Olympics my entire life. I didn't even know. Like, I'm just, you just walk. How do you even get excited about walking? Like, "Man did you see what he did? He had his left foot down, then he put his right foot in front of it. That stuff was awesome. He's amazing." The Bible always says that laughter is good like a medicine. People would always quote that to me. I've seen it I don't know how many times. And then one day, God said to me, "If it's a medicine, why don't you take it to the sick?" That is one of the hugest revelations that I've had since being a Christian. Because I've done comedy for years now, I've been on all the late-night TV shows. I had a great time but it wasn't until I made a shift from getting laughs from people to giving them an opportunity to laugh where everything changed because now this gift that I have, it's not about me getting, it's about me giving to others. I did a show in Montrose, Colorado at a place called the Dolphin House. Now the reason it's called the Dophin House is because, um, they take care of abused children. Dolphins— whenever a dolphin gets hurt, other dolphins swim around it to protect it so, uh, until it's, until it's better. They take of children who were being abused by their parents who are on drugs. And I walk in there, and I get the stories of these kids. And, um, this grandmother tells me about her grandson who was so afraid of his mom, like, everywhere he goes he wears a Spiderman costume, like everywhere he goes. One of the things his mom has been doing to him, she's been pulling out his toenails. So I hear this little boy's story, then I hear all these other kids' stories, too. Um, then they bring them all in so I can do jokes for them and their caregivers. Now listen. If I, if it, if it had not been for God changing my mindset about comedy to giving people an opportunity to laugh vs. getting laughter, I'm telling you there is no way I would have been able to do the show. I, I had actually become physically sick after a while because we— this thing had been going on, so not only am I physically sick, but I'm down and low, and I'm hearing these stories, but I have to do this show because these kids need to laugh. So I go up on stage and sitting right up front is Spiderman in full costume. He's sitting on his grandmother's lap, and he's, and he's clinching her with his back to me. And I get up on stage, and I start doing jokes. Slowly but surely, people start laughing. And about 20 minutes in it, people are laughing pretty well, and then I hear a voice and the voice says, "my name is Ronan." And, um, this little boy pulls off his mask, he just, he, like, pulls off his mask and he introduces himself to me. And the whole place is like, frozen sitting still, like, in shock. He pulls off his mask, and he introduces himself to me as to say, here I am. This is my name. He's in a room where everyone's laughing, and there's no telling if he had ever been in a room like that before. And suddenly, he felt free enough to take off his mask, and, um, I can't help but think every time I do a show, whether it be late-night TV, whether it be at a church or wherever, that there's probably somebody in the room on some level that could be taking off their mask. It's not about me getting the laughs from them; it's about me showing up with my gift, being willing to, to give it to the people. Because I have a gift, my job is to present it to the people I feel like should have it. And if they don't receive it, it doesn't matter. I've still done what I'm supposed to do. My job is to bring the funny, fully and wholeheartedly, because someone in that room, um needs to laugh. They're going through a hard time or they need some sort of revelation that may come about because I've opened up the room with laughter. So that's my assignment. That's what I'm about. That's what I want to do. That's why I love to bring the funny. You should never argue with your wife because if you win, you are married to a loser. Why is that so funny to me? That is... awesome.