Since comedian Michael Mancini became a cop about two decades ago, he’s had plenty of good material coming out of his police work.
“Ever since I’ve been a cop, my career has just boomed in regard to the material that I have,” said Mancini, the featured act at the Chamberlain’s Children Center fundraiser April 7 called Stand Up For Kids.
Mancini, from Santa Cruz, caught up with San Benito Live about his careers as a comedian and police officer, along with his upcoming show at Leal Vineyards for the Chamberlain’s event.
He’s been a comedian for more than three decades and a policeman 20 years. He said he always wanted to be an officer and cut down on comedy acts when he joined the academy. In recent years, though, his comedy work has picked up with the help of his law enforcement-themed material, he said.
“I don’t really do jokes,” he said. “I do stories. I tell a lot of stories.”
Albeit somewhat embellished, those stories come from actual experiences in the line of duty.
“Everything I do is all true stories,” he said.
He explained one true-life bit about a foot pursuit that ended with the assailant running into the police car. He also pointed to a story on his YouTube channel about a situation when he pulled someone over for an illegal U-turn and said it “actually, truly did happen.”
See the U-turn clip below. Story continues.
Recalling the steps of his comedy career, he said in the 80s, “It was pumping,” noting how he worked 45 or 46 weeks a year. After the comedy scene slowed in the 90s, he decided to settle down and pursue the police academy.
But with a revival in comedy to go with his police material, Mancini stays busy and does a decent amount of traveling.
“I go all over now. It’s to the point where I go all over. I go to Missouri next month,” he said.
He works a lot of law enforcement conferences in particular. It helps he’s the so-called “World’s Funniest Cop.” He won that title at one of the big law enforcement training conferences for three straight years starting in 2003. Jay Leno was the host of the competition, and the audience judged it.
“I was a comedian so I had kind of the upper hand,” he said.
Some competitors were comedians, but “some of them were just like the funniest guy in the department,” he said.
Being both an officer and a comedian himself, he said his sense of humor has occasionally conflicted with the need for a certain level of seriousness as a policeman.
“Sometimes I’ve gotten in trouble because I’m funny,” he said. “Timing is everything.”
His stage timing will be on display at the fundraiser set for 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. April 7 at Leal Vineyards. Tickets are $75, and proceeds go to the nonprofit foster care group. The six-acre facility at 1850 San Benito Street stresses education and mental health, but also maintains a focus on well being.
“I have a certain amount I charge,” Mancini said. “Because it’s a fundraiser, I gave them a really nice deal on it.”