Two Worlds Evolving

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My faith walk and my stand-up comedy career are very similar.  Both get treated like a journey where you hope the destination is one that is more awesome than you could ever imagine.  To strive towards that end takes faith.

I am the only comedian in the province that is doing Christian comedy.  Why?  It’s because I can.  I have the ability through my comedy training to write material and make it work to fit my narrative.  Sure, I plan to put together a great Christian comedy set and hopefully take it to church(es) in the city or around the province.  But since this is new territory that really doesn’t have any previous history to draw upon, I’m defining it as I go in relation to my journey.  But along the way it’s created a series of questions.

For example, I can write Christian material about the Bible and get laughs.  But that material I write is really trying to accomplish two things.  One, it’s trying to be pleasing to a Christian audience while secondly, I’m trying to make it relatable to non-Christians while making sure to keep it funny for both types of audiences.  In some cases, there may be a mix of believers and non-believers in the audience, so it makes my job a bit more challenging to make sure it’s funny, while being authentic and Biblically accurate to everyone.

Now I will gladly do the Christian material because it’s a market that hasn’t been looked after at all and would be fun to build up and incorporate into my act.  However, at the same time, I can’t lose sight of the fact I need to keep a part of me in my act.

That isn’t to suggest I’m being a sellout to go down the Christian comedy road.  Maybe I should label myself as a clean comedian who is a Christian, that does Christian material?

I’m bringing this up because today I found myself asking a question that fundamentally cut right to the heart of my faith journey.  There have been several situations that over the last few weeks have left me discouraged, either from what I have read, was told or saw.  They involve a couple people from church, my family, a social worker, and a couple of women (thankfully, nothing illegal!)

So here is my dilemma.  As a Christian, these discouragements I faced over the last couple weeks, I should be able to take to God in prayer and ask for Jesus to break those chains of discouragement that bind me.  Sounds simple enough, right?  But what if you are a comedian?  Shouldn’t those situations stick with you for a bit, so you can write them out and make them into material that kicks ass?  Why would you do that?

Without giving my comedic style away, I will say that these situations need to be dealt with on stage.  I can work through things on stage and when I write them out, it empowers me and gives me some perspective on things, because when you write comedy you are looking at something from a point of view that nobody else does.  I mean, who else takes their issues and turns it into humour to heal themselves in the way that a comedian can, where they can tell a compelling story and have it end in their favour?  Only a comedian can.

So I’m writing Christian material.  I also have issues in my life that need to be written about.  If I take them to prayer and have them unbind me, can I still write about a particular issue with the same emotional sensitivity that gives me the proper comedic perspective?  Remember, in the end, stand-up comedy is a journey that you take the audience on, trying to navigate through your obstacles.  The audience applauds when you are introduced because they are already on your side.  They want to see you succeed through whatever you’re trying to navigate through during your set.

I have to explore these issues.  Thankfully, having the radio show approved has done wonders for my outlook on things, and gave me a chance to look back on the last couple of weeks and try to appreciate all the obstacles that came across my path, even the one I came across today.  But in order for me to appreciate those obstacles, they need to be dealt with.  I can’t stay silent on this stuff any longer.  It needs to come out.  Now, it will be clean.  It might be loud, I might be a bit animated talking about it, but in the end it will be funny.  It will also empower me.  The last time I checked my I.D. my name wasn’t listed as doormat.

So how, as a Christian, can I truly “let it go” and give it to God in prayer and ask Jesus to cleanse me from it, when I keep bringing it up in my act?  That’s a very good question, and one I think I can compartmentalize inside my head.  It’s not making excuses, it’s simply acknowledging that I am confident in being able to not let struggles define me or get me very down in the dumps, being able to move forward towards my future but at the same time talking about the past and bringing up the hurts, even if it appears like the hurt has no effect on me when I’m on stage.

Did you understand what I just wrote?  I’m not even sure I do.  No, wait.  I think I got it.  The bad stuff I’ll leave behind and walk in the freedom I’ve been given.  But can I then turn back around and discuss that stuff to ‘work through” and “heal thyself” when I know that healing will come when I ask for forgiveness and accept it?

This may lead to two different acts from the very same person.  The Christian comedy side and my side, talking about my stuff.  I have no idea at the moment how I am going to accomplish both goals, to do the Christian material and still stay true to who I (think that I) am on stage with my own material.  If there is a way for me to incorporate both sides into a single act, that would be great.  I might be able to do it.  Then again, it might not work.  The only true way to tell is by getting to work and creating the material, then trying to see what works with what.

At least nobody can accuse me of being boring, predictable or complacent.  This should be interesting.

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