"One of the funniest guys I’ve had the pleasure to see perform in the past few years is Michael Rayner. Michael mixes very unique and original physical comedy with a quick witted improv banter with his audience to provide a truly entertaining and hilarious show. He’s easy to work with. His comedy is completely clean. He’s able to make people bust a gut laughing no matter if they’re 7 or 70 years old. We’ve enjoyed his gigs at several different events and settings here at Bel Air, and each time, he’s knocked it out of the park. I wouldn’t hesitate to invite him back, or go see him wherever he’s booked." - Executive Pastor, Bel Air Presbyterian Church
Michael Raynor’s show has been described “preposterous brilliance” and “whacky jugglement,” a combination of hilarious tricks and stunts with uproarious stand-up and a bounty of improvised fun and zingers. He started performing at Flint, MI’s automobile-themed amusement park, Autoworld, during his summer vacations. Since then, he has been an audience favorite, performing over 10,000 shows for personal and corporate clients, churches, comedy clubs, colleges and theme parks.
Michael has been likened to Steve Martin and Robin Williams. You’re never sure what’s coming next! His signature trick is spinning a McDonald’s cheeseburger on an umbrella, which garnered him an appearance on The David Letterman Show. Other TV appearances include esame Street, The Extreme Gong Show, Thirty Seconds to Fame and various local TV shows and commercials. He is a favorite on Nickelodeon, having performed his antics on What Would You Do? and Nick Arcade. He’s warmed up audiences for many sitcoms, including That ‘70s Show, Reba, Dharma & Greg, Stark Raving Mad, Then Came You, Two of a Kind, Two Guys and a Girl and the specials Thou Shalt Laugh ll and Home for the Holidays.
Michael was a weird scientist in a commercial for IBM and a dork washing a cardboard car for Saturn. He played a hapless gas station attendant who tries to take a photo of Elvis in an Energizer battery commercial and has appeared with Ringo Star, Jane Seymour, and Anthony Quinn promoting other worthwhile products. Maybe his proudest achievement was having Frank Sinatra personally approve him to promote his compilation CD for a Capitol Records commercial. Currently, Michael can be seen in his own comedy special, Bananas, hosted by Thor Ramsey on syndicated television and Christian channels nationwide and on DVD.
Michael says his testimony “is the story of the prodigal son, except I’m the one who stays home and is a good kid…I adore Christianity and Jesus, because He allows all—not just the morally good, but all—to have redemption.”
Here is my shocking story. It’s the story of the prodigal son except I’m the one who stays home and is a good kid. Growing up in the church we had a steady diet of evangelists and speakers who were recovering alcoholics or drug addicts and had found Jesus. This started to make me mad. I didn’t do drugs or drink or any of the ‘big’ sins. It seemed to me we celebrated those who came back to Jesus more than those who never left. It didn’t seem fair and I didn’t get it. Then one day I happened upon Romans 3: 22-24 and I did ‘get it.’
This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, (23) for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (24) and are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.
I was an idiot. I was too caught up in my own idea of being a ‘good guy.’ I’m not perfect- and never will be- and, more importantly, you cannot quantify sin. Sin is equal among humans because we are all burdened with human nature. I might not have been a rebellious youth, but that lack of rebelliousness by no means made me ‘good.’ I was filled with other sins as I still am today. There is not a day that goes by that I don’t take the opportunity to do, if not the wrong thing, certainly not the right thing. It could be something as simple as not paying enough attention to my wife or kids or perhaps coveting someone’s big-screen TV. I mean those are really nice; the pictures are so clear and, man, I really want… oh, wait a second… Those little sins are the big sins. Only Jesus is perfect and I- like all my brothers and sisters- am not. I am the same as the drinker, the drug addict, the adulterer, the liar. Yes, it’s a shocker, but it is why I adore Christianity and Jesus. He allows all – not just the morally good – but allto have redemption.
Jesus is the reason I believe in Christianity, because He was both divine and human. Jesus knew what it was like to be a man and chose not to sin. Being human is hard work and God realizes that. All He wants you to do is accept Him and say, “Jesus, please forgive me of my sin.” That’s it.
Once I had kids, my faith in Jesus was really clarified. I have a six-year-old and a three-year-old. For one of them, the act of apologizing seems to be the hardest thing in the world. She would undergo the severest punishment rather than say sorry. It’s the same resistance we show to God. Maybe it’s just my perspective, but most of my kids’ time seems to be spent either not obeying me or working out how not to obey me, and it drives me crazy! I want them to obey me so I can keep them safe because I love them. And yet I turn around and do the same thing to God. I struggle with this every day and I ask Jesus to forgive me. He has blessed me with a wonderful wife and two kids and a career I love. What more could I possibly want? Nothing…although that high definition is pretty amazing. Man that would be something. Oh great. Now I have to go and ask to be forgiven again. And He will. How cool is that.