Jesus – Asleep At The Wheel?

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In Matthew 8:23-27 NIV (New International Version), it tells the story of Jesus in the boat with his disciples.  The boat comes upon a storm that tosses it about in the water, while all this time Jesus is asleep, seemingly unbothered by the events going on around him.  Naturally, the disciples are frightened and worried that they will die from the storm, and their desperation of the situation is heightened because Jesus is asleep.

Then Jesus wakes up at the insistence of his disciples and calms the stormy seas.  He questioned their faith and asked them why they did not believe.  I feel like I am going into what looks like are stormy seas with Jesus in the boat with me, asleep.

I say this in relation to my attempt to begin the rebranding of Trevor Dean as a Christian comedian.  It has been uncomfortable, to say the least.

The first two times I appeared at an open mic, I have been introduced as the city’s only Christian comedian (though last night did not go that great, maybe because after that intro I took a shot at my mother which may have put me behind the 8 ball and have me stay there for the duration of my set).  Usually the audience is really good at letting the host do his intro without interruption from applause or cheers.  But still, I felt as if there was this eerie silence and a bit of amazement/confusion/wonder from the audience when they heard I was a Christian comic.

I have two pieces of material that are complete and able to use in my act, but those are from a few months back.  The rest is about nine pages long of ideas, and some bits that have been written out but need to be edited.  However, I am coming up on a problem that hasn’t been easy to navigate for the most part.

Stand-up comedy for the most part is about misdirection or shattering assumptions.  We lead you down a certain path talking about something that we believe to be relatable to the audience.  Then, at the last minute the punchline contains the misdirection.  In other words, the ending of that bit goes down a different path, one that you didn’t expect.  The greater the misdirection, the bigger the laugh, at least in theory.

The challenge in writing material from the Bible is that you can’t really do misdirection on the punchline and turn it into heightened reality or shattering assumptions.  The Bible is rooted in fact so you can’t necessarily just decide to change the facts to suit the outcome of the story being told.  So then how does one write such material?

I was thinking that I could take certain stories from the Bible and hold them up against the way our world is today.  That alone should be funny enough and get the laughs.  I think?

It’s not like I have any Christians that come out to my stuff to be an objective audience.  Otherwise I am left to do Christian material to an audience and other comics that aren’t saved.  Will they find it funny?

Doing Christian comedy for non-believers is a risk because maybe God and His son aren’t relatable to the audience like a comics everyday struggles would be.  I was once told if I’m writing about God and Jesus that because they are authority figures they need to be knocked off their pedestal and taken down a peg, to make us (the audience) feel better about the situation.  That is to say, God and His son don’t get too big for their own good, and through a punchline we can be superior to them, “getting them in the end”.

Writing Christian material isn’t easy, even after learning the how and why of comedy writing from one of the best teachers in the business.  I don’t know how this is all going to turn out, but I do know it’s going to take a lot more work than every before to make this rebranding of Trevor Dean fly.  Eventually I would like to do this material in front of a church audience, which I’m pretty sure would work.  The only problem is, I have to test that material out first on an audience that isn’t saved, in a comedy club setting.

I’m pretty sure that Jesus is in the boat with me, and asleep.  The storm is about to come, and I am left with a decision.  Will I be able to trust in Jesus fully and know He will get me through the storm, or will I question my faith and panic when the waters begin to get a little rocky, then turn violent?

Just what in the world did I get myself into?

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