Clean Comedy and Viral TikToks by Oxford Son, Christian McCartney10/06/2023 12:20PM ● By Haleigh Abbott
A comedic gift granted by God and perfected by impersonating Jim Carey characters, Christian McCartney is blazing his own path in clean stand up and acting. At 21 years old, Christian has already made a name for himself on the stand up circuit and on TikTok, amassing over 5 million followers who watch his daily content playfully tormenting his family.
Christian realized his potential with comedy in Preschool, when he tried his first character out on his fellow classmates. “I wore one of my dad’s chains, and a jacket half zipped with no shirt underneath and did an Italian accent all day. Everyone cracked up. The chain kept pinching my neck all day and I had a big red spot after that, but I loved the way it felt to make people laugh,” said Christian. His next character idea of Popeye was inspired by an old pipe of his grandfather’s, but his parents quickly nixed the planned prop skit since pipes are definitely not allowed at school.
One rejected character didn’t deter him though, because Christian made plenty more outrageous choices that spurred new rules in the Bethany Christian School student handbook. “I wasn’t allowed to dye my hair anymore because it became a distraction to the students. I would flat iron it, shape it into different styles, make it as big as possible.” said Christian. And after testing almost every color of the rainbow, orange was decidedly the worst. “Red, white, green, blue, orange…Oh orange, orange was a mistake…” recalled Christian.
In Mrs. Felter’s 5th grade class, Christian did his biography presentation on Jim Carey, one of his comedic heroes. His entire 7 minute biography presentation was done as Carey’s Fire Marshall Bill character from In Living Color, while other kids presented athletes, musicians and historical figures. “I saw The Mask” when I was in preschool and just loved it. Jim Carey always said he’d study his own face and the way he could move it, so I started doing the same thing to be like him.”
At 18, Christian did a stand up routine at his dad’s birthday party where he first felt the rush of crowd laughter as he roasted the area amish. Guests and family members loved the act so much, they encouraged him to pursue comedy. Of course they may have later regretted that encouragement, as 3 short years later, they would all be part of his regular routine.
Christian’s dad, Dennis McCartney, is Director of Operations at Landhope Farms and President of the Oxford Chamber of Commerce, and is Tik Tok famous in his own right known as “Crispy DenDen”. “My dad was the one that told me I needed to get on social media and Tik Tok to promote myself. He loves it (being the center of many jokes).”
But it wasn’t always well-timed jokes and funny faces for Christian. After high school, he pursued a degree in Education with plans to teach, but dropped out when he felt God calling him to pursue comedy. “I felt like if God was calling me to pursue comedy, then I needed to take my relationship with Jesus a lot more seriously. And once I did that, the changes that happened were unbelievable.” Christian explained that “obedience to his word in how we should treat others, and living his glory” in that treatment is what began opening doors for him. “When you trust him, you live through his word and his service, and it takes a lot of stress off to believe he knows what’s best for you.” But his parents weren’t thrilled with the idea of him dropping, regardless of who was calling him to it. In time, they would come around seeing the happiness his path has created for him and those he brings laughter too. “One of my goals for comedy is for families to laugh together, because growing up and laughing with mine was the best feeling ever.”
Christian comes by his talent genetically, pointing out that his mom, Wyvonnejenne, is the queen of faces, and dad Dennis is talented in voices. His older sister and younger brother weren’t always as supportive of Christian’s humor growing up, as he recalled he would stay in character for hours without stopping, even when his siblings begged. “My sister liked one character only, a Swedish impersonation named Quincy that I would do whenever we were cleaning our rooms.”
At 19, Christian began traveling back and forth to Baltimore to perform at stand up clubs. As a steady income, he worked at a daycare and at Landhope during the day until his first TikTok went viral. “‘Talking Smack’...oh that was the first. It was one of five videos I planned on posting that day, and that one blew up. 20 millions views, then the NBA and NFL reached out and asked to use to audio.” The video is pinned on his TikTok account @mistermccartney.official, and was just a random idea he had and wanted to get down on video. The audio of Christian speaking in a high pitch voice about taking Tai Quon Dao in the parking lot of a Walmart Supercenter as a threat has been used in over 150k other TikTok posts. Soon he was making as much money on TikTok content as he was working his day jobs, so he did the opposite of the old adage and quit his day job. “That was a mistake…algorithms are tough.” reflects Christian. “I thought once you were viral, you were in. That was not the case. Some of my videos would blow up and others would go nowhere.”
Stand up and viral fame had found Christian, but still more was to come. His grandmother, living in Texas, helped score Christian’s next connection with Jason Earls, a Christian comedian and pastor in Dallas. Grandmom went to a church comedy show to see Earls with her grandson’s face proudly displayed on her shirt, and marched right up at the end of the show to pass along Christian’s info. Soon Christian was linked with the Christian Comedy Association based in Indiana, and more doors began to open.
Christian submitted an audition tape for a pilot called Mayberry Man, a continuation of a movie based on the Andy Griffith Show. “The director said my tape was terrible, but that something about my face that made him watch it over and over again. In my defense, the character is supposed to be a bad actor, so I thought I was doing the right thing by overacting!” After a table read in LA, he landed the role of Levi, an aspiring actor from Ohio that lives next to the main actress. The character began to morph more into Christian’s personality as he dove into it, and the director let him have creative control over it. The 5 episode pilot is filmed and edited and being reviewed by various networks and companies for release.
A stand-up tour is the latest project for Christian, who has been making stops since July along the east coast, Texas, Arizona, California, Wisconsin and Ohio. The tour, booked entirely on his own by reaching out to stand up clubs and churches, was a labor of love and anxiety. “When ticket sales weren’t doing well at one location, the Devil started getting into my mind and lying to me that I would flop. I started thinking I would fail.” Christian’s newly wed wife, Haley, helped him overcome these thoughts. “She reminded me that it doesn’t matter who doesn’t come to my shows, because the people that are there will be so happy to be there and I will be the one to make them laugh.”
Haley and Christian have been together since the last day of 8th grade, having met at the Oxford Halloween Parade earlier in the year. They have been together ever since, and were married in June of 2023. When scheduling his tour, Christian made sure to put his new marriage first. “I booked the tour dates with a week in between each because I didn’t want to be gone for 6 months. I got a lot of advice from comedians that said your marriage is extremely important and comedy can ruin it. My dream has always been to be a dad over being a comedian, and I would choose family over comedy anyday.” But for now, Haley hopes to work with Christian by doing videography to help record comedy shows and TikToks. “She likes to travel, she likes to laugh and she’s very supportive of me, so it works.”
In his free time, Christian can be found volunteering, aka, dunking on kids at the Lighthouse. He feels God gave him the ability to connect with kids, and he loves to mentor them in and out of the Lighthouse. He’s also learning to play piano and cornrow hair, so he can do his future kid’s hair like his mom used to do for him.
Only about 15% of his material is about the church, but all of his material is family-friendly. Christian ends every one of his sets with the sign off “Laughter is good medicine, but Jesus Christ is the only healer”, a phrase that raises the eyebrows of some but stays true to his comedic mission. “When people look at my career and life I would like them to see when you seek Christ and submit to His will, THAT is the only way you can truly live in your fullness!”
Photos by Jim Coarse, Moonloop Photography