Kent Graduate & Comedian Uses Home Town Roots to Get Laughs

By Meghan Caprez

Mike Polk Jr. has been making fun of Cleveland, Ohio for years. His comedy, especially about Cleveland, has gained him millions of viewers on Youtube.

Polk, 34, graduated from Kent State University in 2001 with a degree in communications and a minor in writing. He spends his days writing ads for a web company in Cleveland, but at night, he shares his talent for making people laugh.

Polk does not put all of his comedy on his Youtube page, but even he is surprised by the response some of his videos have received.

“Some things take off that I am proud of creatively, and that is a good feeling, but some dumb videos that I do find popularity and that makes me question mankind,” Polk said. “It’s a mixed bag.”

Some of Polk’s more popular videos include music. His “One Semester of Spanish – Love Song” had more than seven million views online, and he was featured on a Spanish television show called Telemundo singing the song to celebrity socialite Kim Kardashian. This video earned him the nickname “Spanish Mike.”

Another popular video was titled “‘Ooh Girl’ – An Honest R&B Song,” which racked up more than nine million views.

Perhaps Polk’s most famous videos throughout the greater Cleveland area are his hastily made Cleveland tourism videos and his Cleveland Browns fan rant. The hastily made Cleveland tourism videos are a two-part spoof of Cleveland’s economy and structure. Neither of the videos were over a minute long, but they created a buzz in the community. In response to the videos, the Cleveland tourism bureau released a series of commercials to showcase the city in a better light.

Polk created “A Browns Fan’s Reaction To Today’s Game Against Houston” in 2011 as a response to the November 6 game against the Houston Texans. The video features Polk in front of an empty Cleveland Browns Stadium at night, yelling at the building about his frustrations as a fan. The top comment on the video states, “This was the best performance by someone in a Browns jersey all year.” The original video currently has more than a million views, but other Youtubers copied the video for more views.

Polk has not always been as eloquent as he is now, though. He gives credit to his classes and activities at Kent for helping him to get over his stage fright.

“I still have the video from my first speech that I gave in Communications 101 and it’s utterly painful to watch,” Polk said. “I am ridiculously nervous while presenting whatever drivel I was spouting off. So it helped me overcome that fear, I suppose.”

Polk said he learned many life lessons when he was at Kent, but he can’t remember a single thing any individual class taught him. Each skill, though, helped him to get where he is today.

“You learn about people and about self reliance,” Polk said. “You learn different perspectives. That’s the important stuff. Since I have graduated, I have used the life lessons that I learned at Kent every day of my life, but I’m yet to be asked by anyone what the Seven Ideas That Shook The Universe are.”

Polk said that he has no intention of quitting his job to become a full-time comedian, even after all of his online success. He said that his future is not clear to him.

“I’m 34,” Polk said. “Is that too old to come back to Kent and live in Tri-Towers?”

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