Christian comedy is a great way to share serious topics without being so serious. In many cultures, entertainment is the biggest attraction. If you can entertain people while presenting eternal truths, you can have a very receptive audience. Here’s an article that discusses the validity of using Christian comedy to move the masses.
Humor me for a moment? I have just handed you a shrink-wrapped DVD case. Would you be so kind as to hold on to it for, like, 120 seconds or so? Thank you.
Danish ironist Søren Kierkegaard is apt to illustrate a recent article in the Atlantic about comedy. I’ll explicate the relevant bits of the article in a moment. For starters, here’s one of the Dane’s journal entries, dated 1836:
I have just returned from a party of which I was the life and soul; wit poured from my lips, everyone laughed and admired me—but I went away—and the dash should be as long as the earth’s orbit————————and wanted to shoot myself.
This isn’t a hard sentiment to understand, and it gets at a cluster of issues related to comedy that are worth unpacking. First, back to the Atlantic, where author Olga Khazan finds a team of British scientists claiming that comedians are more likely than normal folks to “exhibit psychotic traits.” Her piece also mentions a New York Times analysis of obituaries that suggests comedians die an average of eight years earlier than members of the military.
[Content omitted, see: http://christandpopculture.com/]
Humor has a subversive component. This the Atlantic article also makes clear; Khazan there describes the transaction between comic and audience as one of “benign violation,” whereby enough of an offense is committed to prick the mind of the listener, but not enough to completely put them off. Humor is clearly dependent to a degree on community standards and personal mores, which define the zone in which a joke can successfully land. Too little of a violation and you’re boring; too much of one and you’re anathema. The goalposts shift with each audience. Each merrymaking, anxiety-ridden, dollar-bill-clutching audience.
Christian comedy can be used to present very serious topics in a light-mannered way. Seriousness can raise defenses, but comedy can dissipate them. If you are a Christian comedian, we’d like to hear from you on what messages you are presenting and what type of response you get.