The idea of a Christian working in secular comedy makes many Christians uneasy. But Christian performers like Jeff Allen, the King Baby comedy troupe, and Mark Anderson are taking their humor into secular venues and delighting audiences across the country.
Most people outside of church circles don't associate Christians with humor, says Anderson, a star and cowriter of Crazy Love, a long-running stage show at the Wonderama Theater in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
"It should be the opposite," Anderson says "If we're really full of joy, we ought to be among the funniest people on the planet."
Until he became a Christian about seven years ago, Allen thought Christians had "no sense of humor or outlook on life," he says. Now, Allen's good-natured riffs on family relationships have made him one of the country's hottest Christian comedians.
"I think teenagers are God's revenge on mankind," Allen says in his act. "It's as if God said, 'See how you like it to create someone in your own image who denies your existence.' "
Allen's career has spanned more than 20 years—both before and after he became a Christian. He's performed on Comedy Central, VH1's Standup Spotlight and at the Montreal Just For Laughs Comedy Festival in 2000.
Before his conversion, Allen says, his comedy was "bitter, jaded and cynical" and his nickname was "Psycho." One night his anger was so extreme that his wife, Tami, left the show in tears because of the caustic way he talked about her. Years of alcoholism, other drug abuse, and rage had left his marriage and career in tatters.
Allen, an atheist at the time, finally dried out through Alcoholics Anonymous and began a relationship with God. The peace of God, he says, restored his marriage and transformed his life and comedy.