- Faith & Family
In the past few decades, Christians have been claiming or, in some cases, reclaiming, various art forms as being appropriate for inside the church sanctuary. From dancing, to rapping, to miming, these alternative ministries are becoming more popular.
Now Christian comedy may be among the next wave of ministries.
Previously the territory of darkened, smoke-filled clubs, more stand-up comedians are discovering that routines filled with stories about church life can receive just as much laughter that profanity laced jokes that deal with racy topics.
“My motto is that laughter is your faith in activation,” explained Ft. Lauderdale-based comedian Felicia “FeFe” Moore. “If I laugh that lets the devil know, and it lets me know, that I’m not going to let any situation overcome me.”
For the past eight years, Moore has been performing her comedic routine in churches and other venues. Her jokes frequently revolve around her experiences growing up in church as well as her opinions about various topics. Like other Christian comedians, Moore chooses not to use profanity or discuss racy topics such as sex, but says she does not need these popular secular comedic tools.
“The things that I don’t talk about are the things that I don’t think are funny anyway and that’s because of the [Christian] lifestyle that I have chosen to live,” Moore explained.
Her funny, yet clean brand of comedy caught the attention of Rev. Benjamin H. Parrott of Christian Fellowship Missionary Baptist Church who decided to invite Moore to perform during a recent Comedy Night held at the church.
According to Janae Turner, the publicist of the Christian Fellowship MBC’s Pastor Appreciation Committee, the church’s Comedy Night that was held on May 19th and was expected to draw over 200 guests.
“Most people [were] looking forward to it because they hadn’t really attended anything like it before,” Turner explained. But, “I think that Christian comedy is still considered somewhat unconventional, but at the same time its another opportunity for the saints to still enjoy the Lord.”
Exactly how acceptable Christian comedy has become is difficult to quantify. What is obvious is that there is a market for clean comedy with headliners such as Steve Harvey choosing to embrace the label of Christian comedian and shows billed as the ‘Kings of Christian Comedy.’
“One reason that Christian comedy is expanding is because Christian people want to laugh too and have a good time also,” explained Albert “Funnybone” Harris. “A Christian couple wants to go out and have a good clean night of fun.”
The Jacksonville-based comedian previously worked as a secular artist before rededicating himself to Christ in 2007. The change also inspired him to clean up his comedic act as well.
“I’m constantly booked for jobs so obviously I’m doing something right,” he said.
Now he believes his routines merely complement the traditional sermons given by ministers.
“The pastor’s message is a full-course meal, but a full meal could use a good appetizer and I feel that with rappers, singers and comedians God is just providing pastors with a lot of good appetizers,” Harris explained. “There are a lot of us who can spread God’s word but [comedians] just do it in a different way.”
By Kaila Heard