Dr. Grins, Grand Rapids
Dec. 18, 9 p.m.
If you need living proof you don't need a foul mouth to be funny, look no further than comedian Mike Green. Sure, he may not be quite as squeaky clean as when he first got onstage at age 14 to MC a church talent show and crack a few jokes, but he certainly drops far fewer f-bombs than most of his contemporaries.
“In the clubs I might cuss a little, but I do a lot of work at corporate events. Shows for Nissan, Little Caesar's and Kmart and all those, they require you to work clean,” Green said. “It really came to the point where I thought, 'All I have to do is take some words out.' It wasn't like the structure of the joke was affected really, so I started working cleaner so I could make more money.”
Green has found himself opening for like-minded acts such as Jerry Seinfeld and Ellen Degeneres. In 2011, his brand of humor helped him win the LaughFest clean comedy showcase. While he does allow for a bit more blue material to work its way into his sets at clubs like Dr. Grins (which he'll be performing at this month), he's found a way to never rely on profanity to sell his jokes, which he lovingly bills as “adult humor without the words.”
That's not the only way Green has separated himself from the pack, though. While most comedians move to New York, L.A. or even Chicago in hopes of more exposure, he took another route.
“I did move to Las Vegas for a year, but that was ill fated,” Green said. “I think I work there more now than I did then.”
Instead, Green has opted to reside in Michigan with his wife and kids, opting to hit the big cities while he's on the road and make his mark along the way. In 2007, he ended up winning the Best Comedian prize at the New York Comedy Expo. Of course, traveling this much can put a strain on any family, but Green and his wife have figured out how to use his schedule to their advantage.
“To be honest, I'm only gone Wednesday to Sunday morning most weeks, so I have Sunday, Monday and Tuesday, and maybe alternating Wednesdays, where I'm not even on the road,” Green said. “So genuinely, I would venture to guess that I actually get to spend more time with my kids than most parents do.”
And as long as Green can keep up this balance, he's excited to perform comedy for a living. Between the corporate shows, comedy clubs and comedy festivals, he has enough work, and is excited for what the future holds.
“Right now I'm just plugging along and doing the gigs,” Green said. “And being at The B.O.B, that's always an exciting gig. I love that room, it's a great room.”