by Team Streblow
Churches, faith-based organizations, Christian colleges, and Christian camps are, in record numbers, hiring a Christian comedian to bring laughter to their events. Why? Laughter, as the Scriptures say, is a “good medicine” and more and more people are longing for that practical kind of healing. Everyone needs laughter – especially, perhaps, the church. The refreshment that comedy can bring creates a great memory and an unforgettable bonding experience.
Beyond the needed laughter, there is a very practical reason for booking a Christian comedian: the comedy breaks inner tension. Christian events wrestle with real-life issues of sin, evil, pain, poverty, and many other difficult subjects. As your attender wrestles with these difficult topics, the effect is a growing emotional tension. The tension usually has a cumulative effect that can eventually make the person sort of “glaze over” and sort of stop being able to absorb the teaching and encouragement that your church or organization has to offer.
Here we see the value of comedy at a Christian event. A well-timed comedy performance during your event provides the audience member a chance to laugh and relieve that inner tension. The laughter acts like a reset button that helps the person not only feel better, but recharges him or her to take in more of the ministry your event is trying to give. This is true of large conferences and weekly meetings as well.
Churches and faith-based organizations are also using Christian comedians to do community outreach. The Christian comic is brought in to do a concert and the community is invited to come to this non-threatening night of laughter. Comedy done well can effectively reach people from the very young to the very old – and everyone is laughing together! Combined with a testimony and information about the church, these types of comedy outreach events can be a very effective way to reach your community.
Christian comedians also help Christian organizations encourage youth groups, draw interest for fund-raising, energize worker-appreciation events, enhance banquets, dedicate buildings, celebrate holidays, or just have fun as a family. So, how do you go about booking a Christian comedian? Booking a Christian comedian effectively starts out by getting answers to some important questions.
What type of event am I doing?
You want to find the right Christian comedian that is the best fit for your event. To accomplish this, you should take a careful look at the type of event that you are doing and the demographics associated with that event.
For instance, are you planning an outreach event for your community? Then your audience will be made up of Christians and non-Christians alike. Therefore, you want to hire a Christian comedian who can entertain both. There are several Christian comedians who do the same clean material in both churches and comedy clubs. They accomplish this by focusing on material that intersects both secular and Christian experience, and the result is amazing – Christians and non-Christians laughing hard together. It’s a very difficult balance, but there are Christian comedians who excel at this and they are ready to help you with your outreach event.
Are you planning an event for teenagers? You will want to hire a Christian comedian that can speak their language, and not just the jargon. They need to be able to emotionally connect with teenagers. There are several Christian comedians who specialize in comedy that appeals to youth groups.
Perhaps you are planning a women’s event? How about a men’s event? Then you will want to choose a Christian comedian who has material that resonates with that particular group. Generally, women’s events bring in female comedians and men’s events bring in male comedians, but don’t assume that this has to be the case. When you bring in a comedian of the opposite gender to a men’s or women’s event, the fish-out-of-water awkwardness can be unforgettable and really really funny.
How about an event for children? Small children’s events can also benefit from having a comedian. Children may not be able to appreciate sophisticated punchlines, but they love to laugh. The key is to bring in a Christian comedian who specializes in comedy for kids. Children require less joke structure and more emphasis on story telling, funny visual gags, and physicality. Hiring an intellectual sophisticate who never moves a muscle will leave you with a room full of staring and confused children – and perhaps an eventual riot.
Are you hosting an event for senior citizen? They love to laugh like everyone else, and just like all the other groups, they need a comedian that they can relate to. There are Christian comedians who specialize in entertaining senior citizens.
Perhaps your event is for all ages? Then you need to find a Christian comedian that can connect with a wide demographic. You may wonder if it’s even possible to do a comedy show that entertains all ages when there are small children in the audience who wouldn’t understand most of the jokes. It is possible, because of the power of laughter. When small children sit with their families, they get caught up in the laughter of the adults around them, and they laugh too. If the comedian has any sort of funny physical movement on stage, that also keeps the children engaged. The key for an all-ages show is to find a Christian comedian that has wide appeal and then make sure the families are sitting together.
At this point, you should have a good idea of the type of event that you are doing, and the demographics of your potential audience so that you can choose the best Christian comedian for the job. Now let’s look at another practical question.
What is my budget?
Knowing the upper limits of what you want to spend to bring in a Christian comedian helps you narrow down the playing field when it comes to bringing in a Christian comedian. Christian comedians come in many levels of experience and expertise and their fees are priced accordingly. Know your budget, and you will be better equipped to get the right Christian comedian.
What is the date of my event?
It is also good to have a general idea of when your event is going to take place. The more flexible you are with your date, the easier it is to get the Christian comedian that you want. It’s good to get the ball rolling as far out as possible because certain times of year have higher demands than others. If your event takes place during a busy time, your choices will diminished accordingly. Flights are also cheaper the farther out you book, so it’s best to get started as soon as you can.
So at this point, you should have an idea of the type of event you are doing, the demographics of the audience you intend to have, your budget, and the approximate date of your event. (These questions are summarized on the checklist below.) But before you start your search, it’s good to know what traits you are looking for in a Christian comic.
What qualities should I look for in a Christian comedian?
It probably goes without saying, but you want to find a comedian who is very funny. But you don’t want a comedian who is just funny to you, but funny to your intended audience as well. If you have a good sense of humor, you can feel comfortable making that call yourself, but if you have any doubts, it’s a good idea to bounce some performance video of the comic off of some objective people in your church or organization — preferably these people would be representative of the age, and gender of your intended audience.
You also want a Christian comedian that does clean material. Evan among Christian comedians “clean” is a relative term. The best judge of this will be you. No one understands the dynamics of your church or faith-based organization as well as you do. So, it is important that what the comedian believes is clean and what your group believes is clean is the same. A video tape of the Christian comedian’s performance is very helpful in determining if the material is right for your group.
You want a Christian comedian who is kind and respectful to you and the people off stage. That doesn’t mean you should shy away from Christian comedian who have an aggressive stage personae – that could be exactly what your event needs! But an amazing talent on stage, who is disrespectful and rude to your people off stage could undermine your goals for having the comedy in the first place. And it always makes your event much easier to execute when you have a performer who is a team player that cares about your success.
Finally, as the title implies, you also want a Christian comedian to be a practicing Christian. There can be exceptions to this, of course. We know of successful church outreach events and fund raisers where a Christian comedian was paired up with a clean comedian. But if you want the comedian to give a testimony or share the gospel, an actual practicing Christian is what you want. Also, keep in mind that your church audience is naturally going to assume that the performer is a Christian, and will ask the comedian awkward questions afterward like, “How long have you been saved?”
Now you know more of what you are looking for in a Christian comedian. But how to you find out if the comedian fits this criteria? For questions about the strength and quality of the comedian’s material, it’s best to watch a video of the comedian’s performance. During the search process, ask the comedian or the comedian’s agent or manager for a DVD or a link to a performance. Then ask the comedian or representative questions about the comedian’s personal qualities. (A list of questions that summarized the criteria above are provided in the checklist below).
Where do I search for a Christian comedian?
Now that you know what you are looking for, it’s time to start looking at Christian comedians. A great place to look is the web. Go to your favorite search engine (Google, Yahoo, Bing, etc) and type in “Christian comedian,” “or Christian comedians.” You will find many Christian comedian websites, Christian comedian videos, and Christian comedian agencies. To narrow your field, you can also type the demographic of your intended audience. For example, type “Christian comedian youth group.”
Take a look around the artist’s website. Read about where they have performed and get a feel for who the comedian appeals to. Watch videos on the site and see if they make you laugh. When you find a Christian comedian seems like a good fit for you, look for the booking information on the web page, and start the process of asking questions (see checklist below).
Many people wonder if it’s better to book a comedian through an agency or directly through his or her website. Generally, if you like a particular comedian, it is better to go through his or her website. Why? Because, if the comedian isn’t exclusive with an agency, going directly to him or her may get you the best price. On the other hand, if the comedy is exclusive with an agency, he or she will direct you to that agency anyway.
We hope you find the Christian comedian you are looking for! Of course, we recommend you start your search with Christian comedian Daren Streblow. He provides nightclub-tested/family-approved comedy and specializes in community-outreach concerts and youth events. He also performs regularly for Christian college events, Christian-single events, Christian conferences, and Christian fund raisers, and Christian large events. Daren is flexible and easy to work with. And he works hard to make your event hilarious, inspiring, and memorable.