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Comedian Juston McKinney's Deer, Moose, Ticks and Hicks' coming to the Gracie Theatre Sept. 6th

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'That's just funny right there. I don't care where you're from,' a friend of mine said recently after seeing a YouTube clip of comedian Juston McKinney. He was right - McKinney's comedy is universal.  

Whether he's talking about life with his wife, children and dogs or growing up on the border of Maine and New Hampshire, McKinney, a veteran of 'The Tonight Show' (both Jay Leno and Conan O'Brien) and two Comedy Central specials, is as relatable to an auditorium of college students as he would be to a convention of seasoned firefighters. Perhaps an Amazon.com review of McKinney's recent DVD 'A Middle Class Hole' sums it up best: 'He's clean and he's hilarious.'  

Earlier this year, Juston McKinney announced 'Deer, Moose, Ticks and Hicks,' a new show drawn from his real-life pre-standup career as a police officer in rural Maine. Determined to bring the show to all 16 Maine counties in 2013, McKinney has his sights on Penobscot County next with a show set for the Gracie Theatre at Husson University on Friday, Sept. 6 at 8 p.m.    

'This show has been a blast,' McKinney said in a phone interview last week.  'Deer, Moose, Ticks and Hicks' is full of real stories of the rural patrol. I was a deputy sheriff in Maine for seven years, and this show is based on stories from the time when I was patrolling the border of Maine and New Hampshire.'  

Juston says that being a rural deputy sheriff was not always easy, but those years provided him with more than enough material for his current show. 'I was one of two officers who had to cover 14 towns. My backup was a day and a half away,' McKinney said.  

'This was in the '90s, and our department was kind of poor. I remember the chief saying, You know you get to bring the cruiser home with you.' I said, Oh, that's great because my car is a piece of junk with about 190,000 miles on it,' and he goes, 'Let me tell you something, the one I'm giving you has over 250,000 miles on it.' So now I had two pieces of crap. I once pulled a guy over and asked, Do you know why I stopped you?' He said, No.' I said, Because my car is overheated do you have any coolant?''  

As he looks back on his career in law enforcement, how does Juston McKinney see himself as a cop? 'Really, I was one of those nice cops. I wanted everybody to like cops,' he said. 'I would give warnings for everything. Have you ever been in your car and flashed your headlights to warn cars coming at you to slow down because there's a cop back there? I used to do that in my police car. I would literally want people to not get a ticket. You wanted me as your cop. I'd pull a guy over in a min-van with four car seats in the back. I'd say, That guy doesn't need a ticket - he needs a nap.' I really tried to understand where people were coming from.'

Some of McKinney's stories from his days as a rural deputy sheriff have become sort of legendary among his fellow officers. 'They still tell these stories about things I got myself into,' he said. 'There was one time where I had to take a report of a missing cow. The woman was so distraught, it was like she lost a person. She's all crying and upset. She'd call and say, Do you have any leads?' As if the cow had just used an ATM in Ohio. I said, What do you mean, any leads?' She's hysterical. I say, Ma'am, calm down, it'll be OK. We've got the WHOLE department workin' on this.''  

Tickets for Juston McKinney's 'Deer, Moose, Ticks and Hicks' (Friday, Sept. 6 at 8 p.m.) are $17.50 and available at the Gracie Theatre box office Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m., via www.JustonMcKinney.com or by phone at 318-6856.  

'The Big Morning Show with Mike Dow' can be heard each morning on Big 104 FM The Biggest Hits of the '60s, '70s & '80s - airing on 104.3 (Augusta/Waterville),104.7 (Bangor/Belfast) and 107.7 (Bar Harbor)

     

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