Wisecracking Wiseguys

Through the wonder of technology, we were able to assemble this star-studded cast of Christian funny people – err, funny people who are Christians… umm, Christians who make people laugh. But they weren’t in the same room at the same time. Amazing! So listen in as we try to stump them with thought-provoking questions that are sure to generate some awesome conversation.

TH = Tim Hawkins
MJ = Michael Jr.
T = Tommy and E = Eddie (The Skit Guys)
TWP = Team WordPlay (Chris and Ryan)

What lets you know that a particular “concert” is gonna be a good one?

TH      When people know who I am. That’s always a plus. It beats all those banquets I’ve performed at where I’ve had to prove I’m more interesting than lasagna and cheesecake.

T         I guess it would depend on what kinda music you like. I’m fond of mostly 80’s music so I know it’s gonna be good if it’s REO Speed Wagon or Journey. Oh, and TobyMac – ’cause I’m a Christian.

E         When the seats are all filled up, there’s been somewhat of a line that has been waiting, and then the anticipation is at fever pitch. You step onstage and you can do no wrong. That’s a good one. Our videos have really helped propel our “live” shows. People watch these videos and they want to see us live. It’s as if we’ve developed a relationship before we get to town.

T         Ed, I think you misunderstood the question.

TWP   There are so many factors that come into play. But it’s usually not about numbers of people, but how they are situated. Like cold sores, comedy is contagious, and the closer people are packed together, the more the laughs seem to come. Also if, at the appropriate time, the host holds up the “LAUGH NOW!” signs we always ship ahead, that usually helps.

MJ      Most of the time if there is praise and worship beforehand, it is always a good one. And if people are laughing before I hit the stage. And if people are laughing during the show. And if they are laughing after the show. And if I get my money. And if the check clears.

At the end of the evening, when you’re back in your room or in your car headed home, what makes you think, “Whoa! That was GREAT!”?

TH      I don’t need to think it. I’ve actually hired a guy who sits in the car and says, “Whoa! That was great!” It’s just how I like to do it.

T         When I’m standing in the mirror sporting my Styx concert shirt. I usually think, “Whoa!  That was great!”

E         After one of our shows, we almost always stay and sign stuff and take pictures with people. That’s when the audience shares their stories – stories of how a particular skit, a certain phrase or sentence touched them or helped them through a difficult time. Again, it’s the relationship we have with these wonderful folks from city to city that makes it great.

T         Seriously – who came up with these questions? They are confusing!

TWP   We love having time to interact with the audience, not only during the show, but especially afterwards. Nothing makes us happier than when students come up to us and say, “I never thought about my Christian life in that way, but your sketch really made me think.” Also when the youth pastors tell us that the kids stayed up all night talking about whatever we spoke on that session. We love torturing the youth pastors.

MJ      People’s stories about how they really needed laughter at that particular time really blesses me on the ride home, at my hotel room, and beyond.

“Christian Comedy” can be kind of like “Grape Nuts” – which is neither grapes nor nuts. What makes your comedy “Christian”?

MJ      I don’t know; you tell me.

TH      I kiss my finger and point to heaven after a joke goes well.

E         There’s a definite message. It’s normally a “Christian” message. Our goal is not to be cheesy. We make no apologies about being “Christian”– we want it to be some of the best “Christian” stuff they’ve seen.

T         Christian audiences don’t expect much. Sad to say, but it seems that the bar has been lowered when it comes to comedy and expectations in church.

E         For too long, Christians have played it safe way too much when it comes to comedy. We try to have someone sitting out in an audience or in front of their computer to go, “I wasn’t expecting that!” Sometimes that’s the best compliment.

T         We are Christians who do comedy. So that makes it Christian comedy by default. Much like jumbo shrimp is both large and small because it’s – never mind. That analogy didn’t work.

TWP   Our comedy is Christian because we really don’t do anything in our act that is not designed to bring students into a closer relationship with their Creator. Laughter for the sake of laughter is great and there’s a little of that if we do an improv comedy concert but if, at the end of the day, we just made kids laugh and didn’t encourage them to grow closer to Christ, I think we’ve done them (and our ministry) a disservice.

Read the complete Wise-Cracking Wiseguys interview and get all the other humor-themed resources (from Tim Hawkins, Michael Jr, Skit Guys) in the new Youth Leaders Only Digital Box!

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