The keynote speaker at the first general session, which is scheduled to begin Thursday at 7 p.m., promises to bring a little levity to the proceedings. Mike Rivera operates in two very different arenas – as a Pinellas teacher and as a stand-up comic. Rivera, America’s Most Hilarious Teacher, believes that all students should have the right and opportunity to learn in a caring environment that encourages them to reach their highest potential, all while having fun.
September 26, 2015 · 2:15 pm
America’s Most Hilarious Teacher, Mike Rivera, Signs Book Deal with Richter Publishing LLC
Richter Publishing is excited to add another celebrity to their list of authors. America’s Most Hilarious Teacher, Mike Rivera, has been a national touring headlining comedian for over 20 years. Mike has been a regular at all the major comedy clubs across the United States, and has appeared on HBO, ShowTime, and on ABC’s The View where he won America’s Most Hilarious Teacher competition.
For the past Fifteen years, Mike has brought humor to his students as a full-time award-winning middle school social studies teacher. In his years of teaching, Mike has been recognized for his innovative comedy/teaching approach.
Mike presently lives in Largo, Florida. He is the proud father of two children and dog Maurice. He is passionate about travel and exploring the world either by himself, or leading student groups overseas. He loves sports and is an avid fan of the San Francisco Giants, Tampa Bay Lightning, and Tampa Bay Rays.
Watch out for his book, “From Stand-Up Comedian to Stand-Up Teacher” to be published early 2016.
FT. PIERCE – When teacher and stand-up comic Mike Rivera was named “America’s Most Hilarious Teacher,” through a competition on “The View,” he found himself hanging out with Barbara Walters, Whoopi Goldberg, Lily Tomlin and Sigourney Weaver. Each told him how much teachers had meant to them and their success. “Everyone I met let me know how inspirational their teachers were and gave me props for that,” he said.
Rivera, an American History teacher at a middle school in Pinellas County, has been honing the arts of teaching and comedy for many years. He brings his stand up to the Comedy Club in the Black Box Theatre of the Sunrise Theatre June 27 and spoke recently by phone about his dual careers.
“American history was my passion,” he said. “I grew up in the Hudson Valley in New York reading encyclopedias. One of the biggest challenges is getting kids to read. How do you engage them? Their attention span is about a minute-and-a half. If they’re not engaged, they’re flat-lining.”
Rivers sees many parallels between teaching and performing. “I’m working the room,” he said. “A headlining set is 45 minutes to an hour. A class is 54 minutes. (When I’m teaching,) I’m doing six shows in a row. When I’m done, I take two minutes to clear my head before the kids come in. They haven’t seen it before. In comedy, we shut the door for ½ hour between shows. In teaching, it’s two minutes. I have to refocus and start up. When the door opens, I’m working that class.”
Rivera appeared three times on “The View” as part of the “Most Hilarious Teacher” competition. It changed his life. “It opened up a whole new world,” he said. “My friend said I should do this and I said, ‘Maybe I should.” I had two hours to fill out an application and send in clips. Club comedy is very different from television comedy. They picked five finalists from North America and I won. The day Barbara Walters returned (from illness) was their highest-rated day and the day they announced I won. “Mayor Bloomberg was there and Regis Philbin. I got to meet Lily Tomlin. She was one of the greatest character comics. Sigourney Weaver bumped into me and introduced herself. She knew I was ‘the teacher guy.’ You have to play it cool, but you wasn’t to start screaming, ‘Oh, my God!’”
Rivera’s success was big news at his school and he expected to return home to high fives. When he walked into the school, everyone screamed, but when he walked into his class, there was complete silence. “I brought out my stool, which is the signal to talk,” Rivera said. “Finally, one kid asked, ‘Are you leaving us?’ Seconds later, another said, ‘Yeah, are you gonna leave?’ I was so taken aback. It affected me. It was the first time I really knew how much impact I have on my students. I said, “No, I’m not going to leave.’” I realized I wasn’t going to leave my kids.”
His presence on “The View” has led to increased bookings. During the school year, he usually works two weekends a month. During the summer, he works non-stop. He has also started doing ‘teacher shows,’ where he and several others do comedy centered around schools and teaching,
“That’s really taking off,” he said. “All the comics want a niche. I’ve had it all along.”
He has also gotten a book deal and is in the editing stage of “From Stand-Up Comic to Stand-Up Teacher.” “It’s about using strategies from stand up comedy and putting them in the classroom,” he said. “You don’t have to be a stand up comic. You can do it your way, I’m giving a structure. It’s about building teacher-student relationships, being engaged and knowing boundaries. I’m a student advocate and my students know that. When they say, ‘we,’ they mean we, the teacher and students. When you can say that, you got ’em.”
Rivera’s stand up show at the Sunrise is about more than teaching. I talk about everything,” he said. “Everything is on the table, from kids to traveling to being a single dad and dating to being middle-aged. I love to do improv, like to have fun. I have a set routine, but if something happens, I can go off for a few minutes. I played the Sunrise Black Box a year ago. There are no tables. Their focus is intense. It’s almost like working a classroom. Casey (Peruski) and Spaz (McGoorty) run a room so well. They’re happy to have you there and they pump you up.”
Mike Rivera appears at the Comedy Club at the Sunrise Theatre’s Black Box Theatre, 117 S. Second St., Fort Pierce June 27 at 8:30 p.m. Ticket are $15 or call for tickets (772) 461-4775 or online
Hey everybody, check this out. So cool. I got three nice articles written about my recent experiences in an on-line, hometown journal called the “Largo Patch”.
Especially nice is the most recent one, Osceola Middle School Teacher Adjusts To Life As A Celebrity.
You can check out all three right here.
… and there’s a video! You view the video here or you can also jump over to Tampa Bay Times and read the write-up.
(The video contains an auto-play ad that I can’t control. So from the blog posts page, click on “Continue Reading” to see it.)