Thou Shalt Laugh: Christian Comics Take Center Stage
By Belinda Elliott
CBN.com Daily Life Producer
- How long has it been since you had a good laugh? I don’t mean a brief chuckle. When was the last time you had a fall-out-of-your-chair, laugh-until-you-cry laugh? If you can’t remember the last time, you need a comedy break.
“Thou shalt laugh” may not be one of the official Ten Commandments, but it is a good word of advice for when we begin to take ourselves too seriously. The Bible teaches that, “A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” (Proverbs 17:22)
Warner Home Video is offering a dose of comedy for families with Thou Shalt Laugh, a new DVD that brings together seven comedians for a night of good clean fun. There is no need to put the kids to bed early for this show; all of the featured comedians are Christians.
From the producer of the popular Blue Collar Comedy Tour: The Movie, the DVD offers enjoyable comedy without the vulgarity that accompanies most secular comedy routines. The program was filmed at Faith Community Church in California and is hosted by actress Patricia Heaton (Everybody Loves Raymond).
Heaton introduces the show’s first comic, Thor Ramsey, as “jaded, sarcastic and cynical.” Her description proves to be accurate as Ramsey points out the humor of little things in life and gets Christians to laugh at themselves.
Michael Jr., another comic who has the ability to find humor in the mundane things of life, is no stranger to the spotlight. His unique sense of humor has landed him on national shows such as The Tonight Show with Jay Leno and Jimmy Kimmel Live. He has performed with top-notch comics Cedric the Entertainer, Tim Allen, and Ray Romano.
Teresa Roberts Logan, the only woman comic featured on the DVD, describes her act as “clean enough for churches and edgy enough for clubs.” She doesn’t think of herself as a Christian comedienne, but rather as a comedienne who is a Christian.
For her, vulgar jokes and profane language was never an option for her comedy routines. “I was a Christian before I was a comic,” Logan says, “so keeping the language and subject matter clean, for me, wasn't a big struggle. Frankly, driving and keeping my language clean is a much bigger struggle.”
Originally from Tennessee, her Southern charm, as well as her charming accent, shines through in her warm stage presence. Her comedy is honest and refreshing. Logan has opened for Jerry Seinfeld, Ellen DeGeneres, Kevin Nealon, Drew Carey, and Dana Carvey, among others.
Comedian Jeff Allen is a veteran performer having appeared on Comedy Central’s Premium Blend and VH1’s Stand-Up Spotlight. He credits God with not only his comedic talent, but also with rescuing him from a life of despair. While battling an addiction to drugs and alcohol, Allen’s marriage was on the rocks and his life was falling apart. A stranger introduced him to God’s Word and in Christ he found the peace he had been searching for. Now he performs for both secular and Christian audiences, but he doesn’t change his routine to fit the crowd. "Funny is funny,” he says. “What makes people laugh works anywhere. I don’t change a word."
Another highlight from the DVD is the comedy of Joby Saad, the self-proclaimed “Village Idiot.” Teased by his peers when he was growing up, he took their nickname of “idiot” and turned it into a comedy routine. He has a look that is just quirky enough to pull off the Village Idiot persona. In his performance, he combines his ability to master comical facial expressions with an energetic physical comedy that results in pure hilarity.
Equally as funny is Gilbert Esquivel who jokes on his Latino heritage. Esquivel got his start in comedy somewhat accidentally. While attending a comedy show, the comedian on stage began to joke on Esquivel who was seated in the front row. When Esquivel shot back a few quick witted replies, the comedian backed off and even invited the sharp-tongued young man on stage to tell a joke. After being asked back the following week, Esquivel was hooked on comedy for life.
Thou Shalt Laugh ends with talented ventriloquist and comedian Taylor Mason and his gang of amusing puppets. Mason holds nothing back in his act that features puppetry, music, and crowd participation. The DVD also offers a behind the scenes look at Mason’s craft as a special bonus feature.
These gifted performers not only provide an evening of enjoyable entertainment, but they also prove that comedy does not need to be vulgar to be funny. In an age when decent, family-friendly entertainment is hard to find, Thou Shalt Laugh is welcome endeavor.
Thou Shalt Laugh releases Nov. 7.
Watch Video Clips from the show.
On the Web: Thou Shalt Laugh
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More articles by Belinda Elliott on CBN.com
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