Lessons and Material Straight From God

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It sounded like a great idea.

There was a “Connect” group at the church I attend prayer clinics at. They were getting together on Saturday night to watch the newest DVD release of Tim Hawkins, one of the most successful comedians going today. A Christian comedian.

I had no idea who he was, but I heard plenty about him. When people asked what I did, I mentioned stand-up. Upon hearing this, their eyes lit up and asked me if I knew who Tim Hawkins was. They didn’t ask about me or my comedy style. For them, when it came to comedy, only one name mattered. That’s pretty good brand recognition.

The organizer of the night didn’t think he would get many people out, considering the fact there is a prayer clinic on Thursday and a regular service Friday. Saturday would make three consecutive days at church, then there is Sunday. Four days of church! People will be tired, they’ll want a break, he said. Hardly anybody will show up.

Boy, was he mistaken. It also showed me how powerful comedy can be.

The night was supposed to get started at 7:00, but didn’t get started until 7:30 because people kept coming in. There were about 20 people that watched the concert. I have to admit it was rather intimidating to watch.

First, if you have never seen Tim Hawkins before, his videos posted to YouTube and GodTube have amassed over 300,000,000 views. That is three hundred million views since 2013.  If somebody tells you there isn’t money to be made in clean comedy, don’t believe them. The majority of new comedians in the city don’t seem to grasp this reality. Hopefully they do. Anyhow, Saturday night showed me a few things.

1.  Christians crave laughter. Sometimes their faith can waver or be tested through the most difficult of times, and laughter has healing properties within it. It’s as if the people who showed up were desperate to be healed with laughter just as much as they are desperate for God’s power and mercy on a Sunday morning.

2.  Christians have money. Sounds kind of odd to say, but if you can position yourself as a clean, Christian comedian you will sell out venues.

3.  Christian comedy isn’t all about God. Far from it. Of the 90 minutes he did, maybe ten minutes or less were about God and church. However, he approaches the subject matter that’s true to his down home, country roots. He makes it relatable to us in everyday terms. So even if you’ve never been to church and know nothing about God, you already have that connection with him, like he’s letting you into his life in very relatable terms. His set is clean. That’s a hard thing for people, even myself at times, to keep in mind.

4.  If the material is clean, more people will be able to relate to it. Think about it, the audience wants that connection with a comedian. That’s what an audience craves for, and it’s what ultimately makes us laugh when we receive it. How many people do you think you’ll impact and touch with material that is feminist, feminist, sexist, misogynistic or homophobic? Further more, do you think these people have deep enough pocketbooks to sustain you through your career as a comedian? His material is clean, meaning the age groups he appeals to is vast, from old to young. Comedians that think the money is where being lazy, dirty and vulgar is, well they tend to appeal to the younger demographic.

5.  Here is the part that inspired, yet intimidated me too. Tim Hawkins is 48. He started comedy in 2002 at the age of 33, after giving up his job of being a grocery delivery truck driver. According to his Wikipedia page, he put out a CD in 2002 and 2004, and two years later in 2006 put out his first DVD. Two CDs in the first two years.

How is that possible? I’m sure hours and hours of practice were needed to hone his material. I mean, this DVD went for 90 minutes and he didn’t miss a beat. Where was the failure that helped shape his material and personna?  Or maybe because he’s a Christian and sold out for God, maybe that means he got the good stuff directly from God way quicker. Or maybe his self deprecating manner, ease in front of a crowd and storytelling ability got him farther down the road to success quicker.

He seriously crushed it. He’s a musician and comedian. His comedy is physical at times with quite a few act-outs combined with parody songs that he wrote. All of it seamlessly flowed together.

If a comedian thinks Christian comedians are boring, they are wrong. I think Tim Hawkins new DVD is 100% clean, with maybe 10 – 15% of material about God and the church.

I hear lots of new comics be feminist, racist, vulgar and crude. I always wonder how long it takes them to write stuff that scrapes the bottom of the barrel. Being clean takes a solid work ethic, which most comedians do not have (according to my comedy coach who runs a successful school for comedians). Being clean takes work because you have to make it relatable to everybody. Of the 30 pages of new material I have wrote since November, I would say at least 80 to 85 percent of it is clean. That’s because I wrote every day, looking at the same jokes over and over again, looking for laugh points to insert into a joke (if you’re a comedian and don’t know what a laugh point is, you should….. they help your material immensely by taking advantage of audience psychology).

I don’t know how Tim Hawkins became so good, so fast. What I do know is, if you watch the newest DVD of his, Christian comic isn’t what will first come to mind. Other words like hilarious and clean will. People across this land of ours, as believers, are desperate to be healed with laughter, especially here in Canada, as it’s a market that’s vastly underserved.

Who will step up to carry that torch? Who can be the Canadian version of Tim Hawkins? There is money to be made there. Most comics can’t see it though, because to be that clean requires hard work.

Having faith, the kind of faith that you put out there for others to see, well that kinda helps too.

2 Comments

  1. Dylan W
    Mar 29, 2017

    Hi Trevor, I was just wondering why you included feminist with racist vulgar and crude in the bottom of the barrel comment.. what do you define feminist as?.. and I was also wondering why it’s lumped in with the group on point 4. Thanks -Dylan

    • Trevor Dean
      Mar 31, 2017

      Dylan, a very good question. Maybe feminism type of material was a miscategorization on my part (that was quite a big word). I have learned from my comedy coach that a comedian should “attack up”, meaning that we, as comedians should “attack” somebody that we perceive to have power over us, to create an antagonist/protagonist type of scenario.

      The audience will want to root for the protagonist, usually because the audience wants the person being slighted to win. They will root for the protagonist. When I have heard material that some would call feminist, it seemed as if the female comedienne was talking down about guys, throwing them under the bus as if the comedienne didn’t create a protagonist/antagonist situation. Just seemed like the female comedienne was picking on guys and putting them down.

      I guess my point is, it doesn’t take much effort to write a joke that will degrade the opposite sex or throw them under the bus. I hope that makes sense. There is a mean joke, a mean joke that you can make funny, and a mean joke where, if structured properly, you can emerge as the victor in your struggle.

      Thanks for keeping me accountable to what I write. It’s much appreciated.

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