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30 Comedians to Know in 2016 PT 2

# 14

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“Shoot, I grew up in the south. My dad is a pastor, and I was the third of eight homeschooled children. Coming from a background like that, how do you NOT write jokes?!”

John Crist   

Homeschooled, son of a preacher and one of eight kids growing up in Lilburn, Georgia, John Crist definitely has a unique perspective on life. Whether it’s dating, texting and driving, or the dangers of tweeting about terrorism at the airport, his jokes are purely his own.Crist is a Christian comic, but he’s also a very funny comic who happens to be Christian, which means that he performs in both churches and clubs.

Crist emerged into the national comedy scene in 2009 when he appeared on Louie Anderson’s Las Vegas show, Larger than Life, where he embraced the opportunity that the show had given him and became became a regular performer in Las Vegas, returning four times each year. Since then, in addition to being a Denver finalist on Comedy Central’s Up Next Competition in 2013, he was the winner of the 2012 Denver Denver Improv’s Got Laughs competition, the winner of the 2012 Loonees Comedy Competition and a finalist of the 2012  Comedy Works New Faces Contest.

Fresh off his debut television appearance on Live at Gotham in 2014 and the release of his debut comedy special I Got Questions in 2015, the award-winning stand-up comedian continues to gain momentum as one of America’s young rising stars of comedy. The comedian’s style of edgy but clean comedy keeps him on the road for an incredibly busy schedule of over 300 live shows per year. Crist just returned from a USO Comedy Tour for the Troops in Kuwait and claims the experience was one of his proudest moment in his career thus far)…all while headlining top comedy clubs across the country and sharing the stage with big-name comics like Dave Chappelle, Seth Meyers, Tim Hawkins, and  Anjelah Johnson, Adam Carolla and Louie Anderson.

In a recent 2016 interview with The Interrobang, Crist discussed the struggles as well as the upsides of being a Christian comic. Throughout the interview, it became more and more evident that being a Christian comic is more than just being a comic who happens to follow a certain religion. He also does Christian comedy as well as secular material. One of the biggest struggles for a Christian comic trying to appeal to a general audience as well as a stricter Christian-based audience. Crist then told The Interrobang that although some of his comedian friends have warned against performing both types of comedy to such different audiences and that he needs to pick just one, he enjoys the challenges that he faces in the two polar-opposite environments.

“All the comics are telling me that at one point or another I have to choose one,” he says, “I don’t know if that’s necessarily true, but maybe. I’m not sure.”

Crist then talks about how each environment has its own limitations, like in clubs for example, he doesn’t do any of his Christian material.

“I mention the fact that I’m a Christian in my [comedy club] shows,” he said, “but I wouldn’t make fun of Christianity in a secular venue because everyone else is kind of already making fun of it. All the other comedians are all making fun of Jesus and stuff anyway. If I did it, it’s just piling on. Whereas in Church, I can be like, I’m on your team. I grew up in church, I love the church, I’m not angry at Christianity. I do think there are some things that are hypocritical about it. But I love Jesus.”

One downside of performing in churches, according to Crist, means no swearing, no jokes about sex, no stories about drinking and drugs.

“There’s a bunch of landmines all over the place that you gotta watch out for,” he tells The Interrobang, “but if you didn’t grow up in church it would be hard for you to know…It’s more than just doing a clean comedy show. I got in trouble for saying pissed the other day.  They said that was across the line. That type of self censorship is generally an anathema for stand up comedians. If there is a ‘religion’ to stand up, changing your material to suit your audience can be considered a comedic sin.”

Crist has an enormous amount of show dates set up from now until November. He’ll be performing in Colorado, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Georgia, Indiana, Ohio, Virginia, Michigan, New York, Washington, Idaho, California, Utah, Arizona, Alabama, Kansas, Kentucky, Wyoming and on Royal Caribbean Cruise Ship trips to Barbados, Puerto Rico, St. Thomas, Grand Cayman Islands and Cozumel…so chances are he’ll be performing somewhere near you.

Check out the comedian’s official site johncristcomedy.com to see details about these shows. Follow John Crist on Twitter.

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