Not everyone is as lucky as Ricky Gervais. He’s a comedian who was able to move from TV stardom to stand-up superstardom without having to bat an eyelid.
For everyone else, cultivating a stand-up career involves years of bombing over and over again in dingy clubs to rabid hecklers until you either discover your original comic voice and gain a following or don’t. That unenviable struggle is the focus of new SBS VICELAND show Funny How?
Hosted by comedy historian Kliph Nesteroff (who usually writes about legendary dead comedians), the five-part season takes viewers across North America to pick the brains of those who’ve cracked the big time, those in niche comic communities and amateurs still figuring out how the heck they’re going to pay for their next post-show slice of pizza.
One of those niche communities? Christian stand-up comics.
Christian comedy, huh?
Traditionally, the giants of mainstream stand-up have relished in or drawn inspiration from their secularism or lapsed religiosity. So there’s no way Christian comics are in demand, right?
Wrong. Believe it or not, the “church circuit” is only considered niche by non-believers. Stand-up within the Christian community is not only tremendously popular, but for the comic, also a lucrative career choice. In fact, it’s estimated there are over 500 full-time Christian comics in the USA alone.
Here are a few you’ll meet...
A rare Christian comic who saves his faith-based hilarity for church functions, but is fine with leaving it out and mixing it up for secular comedy clubs.
One of the most renowned Christian comics in the country, who has one hell of a bit about her penchant for watching Keeping Up with the Kardashians.
This comedian coined a phrase for his ilk’s comedic language: “Christianese”.
A former Christian comic with a mainstream fanbase who once held some fairly hard-line Christian views.
What to expect from the rest of the season
Funny How? also covers LGTBQI comedy, the art of bombing, how to get started as a comic and whether stand-up is inherent or something you can learn. Amen to that.
Funny How? airs Tuesdays at 8pm on SBS VICELAND.
Missed the first episode? Watch it at SBS On Demand: