Discover more from A Ghost in the Machine
Mike Polk Jr Is a Very Funny Comedian
The YouTube algorithm introduces me to the hilarious and terribly underappreciated King of Cleveland
Every now and again, my decision to let Google know everything about me actually pays off. The other day, I was watching a video of an old Richard Jeni bit, and as the clip ended, the YouTube algorithm decided I would probably enjoy a video by stand-up comic Mike Polk, Jr., whom I had never heard of before. I gave the suggested video a try, and as it turns out, the algorithm was correct. I laughed my ass off and immediately went looking for more of this guy’s comedy.
I have embedded some of the gems (via YouTube) I found below…
It’s always fun to find a new comedian that really makes me laugh. Polk is a great storyteller, who really brings scenes and characters to life in a memorable way. His delivery is lively and engaging. His sets are tight and polished and extremely well written, yet they also feel very experimental and free-flowing. I love the way his mind works: he makes interesting and insightful connections between divergent experiences and lines of thought. His sense of humor is original and infectious.
In addition to numerous short clips, Polk has released a video standup special, Mike Polk Jr Live at Kent State, on YouTube and an audio album, Baseless Arrogance, available through various streaming services (e.g., Spotify and Amazon Music) as well as on YouTube. Both are excellent and severely underappreciated. After listening to his album, I cannot believe this guy is not more well known and doesn’t already have a few specials on Netflix. Lord knows there are plenty of far less talented, less interesting, and less original comics who have gotten the golden touch from Hollywood tastemakers.
One interesting detail: I have heard comedians, when talking about the comedy business, mention that there are some comics who are not famous nationally but who are extremely successful and well-known regionally. Oddly enough, the phrase “King of Cleveland” came up in each of these discussions. I remember hearing Bill Burr talk about this theme and use that specific phrase, though I cannot find the clip or recall precisely where I heard him say it (may have been on a Monday Morning Podcast episode). Anyway, seeing Mike Polk Jr’s standup and finding out that he is from Cleveland, it makes me wonder whether he was the inspiration for that phrase, “King of Cleveland.” (Or maybe Cleveland is just a mecca for flyover country comedy?)
Anyway, in case you enjoy great standup comedy and have never heard of Mike Polk Jr, I have embedded some of his video and audio clips below for your entertainment and edification. You’re welcome!
Mike Polk Jr’s Letters to His Student Loan Officer:
Mike Polk Jr’s Excellent Comedy Album, Baseless Arrogance (embedded from Spotify):
The entire album is solid, but the tracks Accidental Eddie Money Enthusiast and Robbing Walmart are especially great.
Accidental Eddie Money Enthusiast:
An Example of Mike Polk Jr’s Sketch Comedy Performances:
Mike Polk Jr’s Standup Special, Live at the Kent Stage:
Anyway, if you think laughter is the best medicine, Cleveland comedian Mike Polk Jr is the pharmacist for you! Hope you enjoy!
Thanks for reading A Ghost in the Machine! Subscribe for free to receive new posts and support my work.