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Brad Stine, Christian Comedian, in The New Yorker


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Nice. Especially interesting since I'm helping a friend bring Brad to Edmonton October 24. Brad hosted one of the music nights at CBA in Atlanta, my first time to see him live. There's no question that he has great stage energy, good comedy instincts and great physical skills.

However the author makes it sound like there's Pierce, Davis and Lowry in the Sunday School wing, then Stine out on the fringes. That just ain't so. And if Stine WOULD come to the Christian Comedy Association, he'd realize that there are a number of other similarly talented guys. For my money, Thor Ramsey owns the rant. (Although Thor's website doesn't really do him justice.)

(And who knew Breeden was entertainment director for the Republican Convention. Hmmm -- wonder what that will be like.)

"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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In fairness to Stine, the reporter actually gets this wrong. The title does not refer to Stine's alleged contention that bicycle helmet laws are dumb so much as it refers to the fact that lawsuits have led to an atmosphere in which restaurants are obliged to print on their coffee cups "Warning: Contents May be Hot!"

To which Stine retorts: If you need to be told when you buy coffee that the contents may be hot, PUT A HELMET ON!

Of course, Stine's rant one night may have included plenty about helmet laws, but I don't think it's fair to say that the title deals primarily with that issue.

"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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The guy's got some good lines, but his manager used the dreaded "m" word in my opinion, which is a downside. He's also a little more openly partisan than than even some political humorists which can be distracting, but then that could be the article. How could one get some of his material without having to sit through Promise Keepers? I wonder if Amazon.com knows about him.

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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Oooooooooooooookay. Protecting ourselves from gruesome head injuries weakens the American character?

Maybe it does, because it allows clumsy and incompetent cyclists to remain in the gene pool...

Hey I survived a front flip over handlebars on asphalt as a kid (first use of hand brakes, I squeezed both at once. Hard.), with little lingering effect other than political opinions. huh.gif

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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The guy's got some good lines, but his manager used the dreaded "m" word in my opinion, which is a downside.

Guess I'm a little dense. Which M-word is that?

Regarding the infamous McDonald's coffee lawsuit, I wish Stine would equip himself with the facts first.

Edited by mrmando

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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ministry. I don't buy this puppy dog in sheep's clothing defense of pop culture and think that it is part of the problem with respect to "christian" entertainment. Stine's agent sees himself as cherry picking artists of all stripes and maximising their ministry opportunities.

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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Ah, yes. The peculiar blend of Christianese and marketing lingo was positively blood-curdling in spots.

Stine's career trajectory is the interesting thing about this article. He moves from struggling as he tries to make it as a Christian in the mainstream entertainment industry, to being wildly successful inside the evangelical ghetto.

Which, of course, means he moved in the exact opposite direction from all the artists normally lauded here on Arts & Faith.

Let's Carl the whole thing Orff!

Do you know the deep dark secret of the avatars?

It's big. It's fat. It's Greek.

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Stine's career trajectory is the interesting thing about this article. He moves from struggling as he tries to make it as a Christian in the mainstream entertainment industry, to being wildly successful inside the evangelical ghetto.

Which, of course, means he moved in the exact opposite direction from all the artists normally lauded here on Arts & Faith.

Really? It seems to me that he is distancing himself from the Christian market, with the exception of the 18 Promise Keeper dates this year -- and what comic would turn down THAT gig? Talk about influencing the influencers...

Stine pitches himself as a conservative comic, not a "Christian" comic.

"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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Right, but the article seems to have him at church and college chapel venues a lot, not that there's anything wrong with that. I got the feeling that he is not as mainstream with respect to his schedule as he might like to be. But then, as was noted in another thread, editting of articles has much to do with such impressions. I'm going to start checking the Comedy Castle in nearby Royal Oak (a big stop on the "tour") ro see if he plays there. BTW, I agree about PK. He'd be nuts to pass that up.

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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  • 1 year later...

The New York Times discovers Brad Stine.

I

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Christian,

You may look askance at Christian comedy because what you've seen of it so far isn't appealing. Trust me, there are some brilliant performers out there, performing in clubs, churches or whereever. The fact that some comedians are Christians shouldn't be a surprise, and the fact that they find faith/church issues to be a source of material is also not surprising.

Should there be Christian comedians? Strange question, in a way. Should comedians be allowed to get saved? If they do, should they quit doing comedy, or at least, never bring up faith issues? Should there be Christian "anythings"?

As for subject matter -- anything can be funny. It's not the topic that makes a routine funny, it's writing and delivery.

I work with a number of Christian comics in the course of my work, and over in the 'weekend plans' thread I mentioned that I organized a comedy event at my church last night. We had four guys on the show, and close to 350 people there -- an amazing night, as good as anything I've seen. So, yeah, I've seen some bad acts too (Christian and non-), but there are some great ones.

Best,

Tim

"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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Thanks, Tim. Sorry if I was too dismissive in my previous post. I'm glad to hear that Christian comics are finding an audience. My main point was that I didn't look forward to yet another Christian subculture. My hope is that these comics can make in the marketplace without the overt "Christian" identifier in front of their names.

I did read your post last week about the comedy event, but it hadn't occurred to me to follow up. I'm glad to hear it went well.

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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Oh boy...I'm with mrmando on this. Most of his venues are churches--a "gigantic market" and look at his list of who he rails against which is VERY ideological i.e. his fans are "the Old Guard" (Christian fundamentalists). Does Elvis Presley's, "In the Ghetto" come to mind? Thank you, thank you very much.

Anyway, the MOST bothersome thing about this article is within the FIRST TWO paragraphs. Brad Stine goes through a dark night of the soul. Prays. Becomes an instant success. I should try it sometime. No, it seems to me that God probably had NOTHING to do with it in which case his success was due to quitting "the club circuit, found new management, and started working a different set of rooms..." This whole article reads this way--success, fame and fortune--just Christianized that's all.

By the way, the PK thing? Is on it's way out. It's pinnacle was in the early to mid 90's. I for one am glad to see it's demise. It should either go away or invite wives in to help explain to their husbands how they think they can be better husbands, fathers and lovers.

What a sad, sad, article.

Brandon

"God is so great and merciful that he does not require that we name him precisely. God is even willing to be anonymous for a time. Remember how God led the Three Wise Men from the East to Christ? The Wise Men did not know the God of Israel or Jesus. They worshipped the stars. So God used a star to lure them."--The Twelve Steps for Christians

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Names, Tim. Names.

I think that the church is a terrific comedy minefield. What might get in the way is theological correctness and the thin skins of some sectarians and "weaker brothers". It's not an easy business to begin with. I know a guy around here who has been a professional comedian for more than 20 years and he has to do it on the side now. The local big time curcuit club gave him a 20th ann. party a few years ago, so he still has connections.

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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BBC: Mando was responding to a New Yorker article, not to the New York Times article. I've only read the latter, not the former. I didn't find the Times piece "sad."

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I didn't read the **TIMES** I read "The New YORKER."

Brandon

"God is so great and merciful that he does not require that we name him precisely. God is even willing to be anonymous for a time. Remember how God led the Three Wise Men from the East to Christ? The Wise Men did not know the God of Israel or Jesus. They worshipped the stars. So God used a star to lure them."--The Twelve Steps for Christians

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From the **TIMES**

"I wanted a sitcom. I wanted to be on Letterman. I wanted to be successful. I felt like God was saying: 'You're sacrificing your dream to me. Like Abraham and Isaac, you're bringing the knife down on the thing dearest to you.' Then I got to Nashville and I started working."

Here we go again...

But in the age of Fox News and " 'South Park' conservatives," his positions also define an untapped market, he said.

Yep...I suppose if he was more of a moderate he'd still be praying for success, fame and fortune. I find it hard NOT to believe he is catering to a segment of Christianity for all it's got. Work the teats man! Work the teats!

Edited by BBBCanada

Brandon

"God is so great and merciful that he does not require that we name him precisely. God is even willing to be anonymous for a time. Remember how God led the Three Wise Men from the East to Christ? The Wise Men did not know the God of Israel or Jesus. They worshipped the stars. So God used a star to lure them."--The Twelve Steps for Christians

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Thanks, Tim. Sorry if I was too dismissive in my previous post. I'm glad to hear that Christian comics are finding an audience. My main point was that I didn't look forward to yet another Christian subculture.

Amen! Oh, I mean, right on, bro...

My hope is that these comics can make in the marketplace without the overt "Christian" identifier in front of their names.

You are totally right. But from where I sit, we (communities of believers) need to laugh together, but churches can't very well use non-Christian comics. Quite a few Christian comics are working in clubs and in television, and there is a heavy emphasis on 'excellence of craft'.

I did read your post last week about the comedy event, but it hadn't occurred to me to follow up. I'm glad to hear it went well.

Thanks!

Names, Tim. Names.

Okay -- some of my favorites among Christians performing right now.

Tim Hawkins - unbelievable talent, smart, cheeky, slightly outrageous (speaking from the viewpoint of Christian audiences). Fairly new, starting to get GOOD.

John Branyon - this guy has paid his dues in community theater/comedy, and it shows. He has the timing and delivery of a seasoned pro even though he's not well-known. He kills me.

Thor Ramsey - about as good as it gets for me. smart, physical, rant-style content, extensive club background (also A&E's Comedy at the Improv); he hosts the 'Bananas' series. Also a widely read, personable guy who likes to write screenplays while he's on the road.

Sherri Shepherd - stars as Ramona Platt on ABC's Less than Perfect. Sister's got attitude!

Daren Streblow - audiences (esp. teens) love this guy. me too -- he's near the top of the heap. fresh, original, self-deprecating. (I hear he may get a regular gig with the Gaithers... That'll pay some bills.)

Robert G. Lee - day job is a warm-up comic in LA for sit-com audiences. Tough gig, but he's good at it, and the experience shows.

Leland Klassen - Fellow Canuck and a friend. Physical (Jim Carry-esque in some ways) humor.

I don't have time now to write a lot, but I can mention a few more quickly who, for various reasons, are worth recommending. Some deal more directly with faith issues than others, some are new, some have been around for ages... but I always enjoy:

Theresa Roberts-Logan

Paul Aldrich

Kerri Pomerolli

Bone

Anita Renfroe

Jeff Allen

... and who can forget Ken Davis, fast becoming an icon, likely the best-known Christian comic (apart from Lowry). Shades of Cosby and Newhart, but an original all the same, Davis is in a class of his own. Disclosure: we work closely with Ken, and I even shot/produced a behind the scenes feature from one project. (But do I love him because I work with him, or do I work with him because I love him?)

Anyway, you might not care for everyone on my list, but they are honest-to-goodness pro's -- them and a number of others I didn't mention.

"Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?"

« Nous connaîtrions-nous seulement un peu nous-mêmes, sans les arts? »

Quoted on Canada's $20 bill; from Gabrielle Roy's novel La montagne secrète. The English translation, The Hidden Mountain, is by Harry L. Binsse.

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Nice list, for variety and size. Seems like I should get back on "Mark Ridley's Comedy Castle" mailing list. If any of these folks tour the regular circuits, I've a mind to check them out.

I didn't mean to use up much of your time, it's just that I've noticed a bit less of the edgy language and sexual pitfalls recently. Fad or trend? "Christian" comic not wanting to be labled or riding a demographic trend of more folks of all ages starting families and looking for less edgy entertainment? You never know.

"During the contest trial, the Coleman team presented evidence of a further 6500 absentees that it felt deserved to be included under the process that had produced the prior 933 [submitted by Franken, rk]. The three judges finally defined what constituted a 'legal' absentee ballot. Countable ballots, for instance, had to contain the signature of the voter, complete registration information, and proper witness credentials.

But the panel only applied the standards going forward, severely reducing the universe of additional basentees the Coleman team could hope to have included. In the end, the three judges allowed about 350 additional absentees to be counted. The panel also did nothing about the hundreds, possibly thousands, of absentees that have already been legally included, yet are now 'illegal' according to the panel's own ex-post definition."

The Wall Street Journal editorial, April 18, 2009 concerning the Franken Coleman decision in the Minnesota U.S. Senate race of 2008.

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  • 2 years later...

I haven't read the NY Times article about Anita Renfroe linked in this blog post, but the video clip is a hoot! Great for all parents, but especially moms. And I say that as someone who's guard was up going into the clip, pretty sure it'd be a bust. Not so! Fun.

Edited by Christian

"What matters are movies, not awards; experiences, not celebrations; the subjective power of individual critical points of view, not the declamatory compromises of consensus." - Richard Brody, "Godard's Surprise Win Is a Victory for Independent Cinema," The New Yorker

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I think some of the comedians mentioned in this are funny...others, not so much but the thing about comedy, even moreso than music, is that it is totally subjective.

I won't bother trashing the ones I don't like. I have seen John Branyan, Thor Ramsey, Bone, Sherri Shepherd, Leland, Tim Hawkins and Ken Davis...of those, Hawkins is clearly the class of the group followed IMHO distantly by John Branyan, Leland and after that for me it doesn't really matter.

There are some comedians who are Christians working in the mainstream.

Anjelah Johnson who is on MadTV is a believer and gained some small amount of fame on the net for her bit on getting her nails done.

There are others but most of them are very careful to not be "outed" at this point in their career. They say it this way because once you are labeled a Christian in comedy, regardless of how funny you are people will say...yeah, so and so is funny...for a Christian.

that's my two cents.

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