Michael Joiner’s acting career has spanned the gamut.
The engaging comic-actor earned rave reviews from The Hollywood Reporter and Variety for his starring role in the 2010 Christian drama “The Grace Card.” And then you have his work in the wacky cult comedy “Attack of the Southern Fried Zombies,” which hit screens in 2017.
“At the very least I’m versatile as far as acting goes,” Joiner said by phone from his Kansas City home. “It was great getting some notice for ‘The Green Card.’ And I had a blast in ‘Southern Fried Zombies.’ That was as much fun to make as you might think.”
He left Kansas City for Hollywood in 1986 and scored gigs shortly after moving to the competitive industry town. He has appeared in such TV movies as “The Karen Carpenter Story” and “The Revenge of Al Capone” and shows like “21 Jump Street” and “Thirtysomething.”
“I enjoy acting but I was always more than an actor,” Joiner said. “I’ve always been a stand-up no matter how busy I’ve been as an actor. I’m all about stand-up. I need to get things off of my chest.”
Joiner, who will perform Saturday (1/12) at Penguins Comedy Club in Cedar Rapids, is edgy but clean.
“My kind of humor is what Larry David brings,” he said. “He is such a genius. This past New Year’s Eve we watched ‘Seinfeld’ episodes. Those shows are filled with the most creative, clever writing. You can still connect with those episodes today.”
Joiner’s stand-up is relatable, as well. The married father of three jokes about his wife, children and social media.
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“It’s not easy being married and knowing the difference between the good towels and the bad towels,” he said. “I tell people who are married that they better enjoy it now because the Bible said there is no marriage in heaven. It doesn’t say whether there is marriage in hell.”
Jokes about Branson, Mo., and other markets are part of his repertoire.
“The difference between Branson and Vegas is teeth,” he said. “For every 50 people in the audience in Branson, there’s 38 teeth. You ought to see what’s out there in Arkansas.”
Expect the imaginative Joiner to bone up on what’s happening locally and deliver relevant jokes.
“I’ll see what is happening in the Cedar Rapids area before I come in,” he said. “It’s always fun joking about what’s happening in the town you perform in.”
Joiner always engages the crowd.
“That’s where the magic happens,” he said. “I love living in the moment. You never know what will happen when you break that barrier and interact with the audience.”
The quick-witted Joiner laughed while recounting his last performance at Penguins in 2017.
“It got so crazy at Penguins,” he said. “There was some woman in the front row who was so drunk and I kept messing with her. She kept saying, ‘Why don’t you talk to the colored guy?’ I asked her if she is still living in 1963. I got a big laugh on her account. Some people think shocking is funny. But shocking isn’t funny. There’s much more to comedy than shock humor. I love the Midwest crowds. But I guess I love the Midwest.
Joiner is content living in Kansas City.
“I love doing that type of stuff but I have to be able to get out and flex my comedic muscles in front of a crowd. I can’t imagine life without it. Joking around and being sarcastic got me a D in my subjects in school, but it gave me a career.”
WHAT: Michael Joiner
WHERE: Penguins Comedy Club, 208 Second Ave. SE, Cedar Rapids
WHEN: 8 p.m. Saturday (1/12)
TICKETS: $13 advance, $15 show day, (319) 362-8133 or Penguinscomedyclub.com
ARTIST’S WEBSITE: Michaeljoiner.com