K.C. Mack is on the fast track to stardom. One of six teacher-comedians on the Bored Teachers Comedy Tour, he’s bringing slightly irreverent side-splitting humor to stressed-out educators in live audiences and online. The special education instructor at Lake Highlands Junior High says no matter how famous he becomes, he’ll never leave the classroom. After all, that’s where he finds his best material.
Like any worthwhile comedian, Mack’s jokes reflect real issues including a shortage of teachers (“we’re losing a lot of teachers, it’s true, but the ones we want to leave won’t leave”), a lack of nurturing from the “powers that be” (“Analogy time. When you plant seeds in gravel and don’t water them enough, all you grow is weeds, and not the good kind.”) and holding students accountable for misbehavior (“I bribed a chubby kid with a Snickers to tell me everything he knew”). As he puts it, “I keep them laughing so we aren’t crying.”
He spoke with the Advocate during Teacher Appreciation Week about his performances in and out of the classroom.
Do you feel appreciated?
(Lengthy sigh.) Yes? Yes, I do.
How did you wind up being a middle school teacher?
I started in Lake Highlands back in 2018, working in the Richardson ISD XPlore after-school program. I’d been touring, doing stand-up comedy part time, and a good friend in RISD introduced me. I liked teaching, so I became a GED and English as a Second Language instructor there in Lake Highlands while I also pursued my comedy career. One of the things I’d do with the kids was make videos, so we always liked doing that. But my tour was cut short because of the pandemic. By the time in-person school resumed this past school year, I was teaching special education at Lake Highlands Junior High. And I’ve signed a contract to continue next year.
What were you like as a student?
Let’s just say, karma is real. Yeah, I was a bad child. When I got to college — finished up at Abilene Christian University after a couple of years in community college — I was always the go-to guy for things like hosting, speaking, emceeing events. It was actually a teacher who said I should do stand up. I was like, really? I know I am regular-person funny, but not professional funny. But she encouraged me, helped me build my first website and really was responsible for getting me in that mindset of going after the stand-up career.
What comedians inspired you when you were growing up?
I love Jamie Foxx, Bernie Mac and Martin Lawrence. And Richard Pryor and other greats. The teacher-comedian Eddie B, of course. And then Seinfeld and anyone who did observational comedy.
Who is your target audience?
Teachers and their regular-person friends. Because what happens is teachers force their husbands to come to the show, but they’ll end up coming up to me like, “oh my gosh, I’m not a teacher. But man. Yeah. I love the show.” The material is very relatable to any parent I think.
You have a catchphrase that you say in most of the videos, right?
Yes, so, here’s the thing, I use a lot of satire and I say “I hate it here.” I sometimes have to explain myself. I don’t mean I hate it at the school or in this profession. It’s a turn of phrase that refers to this headspace I’m in, the reflexive response to a momentary frustration. I am in the drive thru and get the wrong order, so I hate it here. My fries are too salty — hate it here. It’s a reaction to this speck of time. And it’s a joke.