Was there material from any one of these comedians that really made you laugh and bust a gut?

Well, I loved Darren Streblow. I love that he takes everyday, ordinary stuff and especially stuff that would get on your nerves, like telemarketing. And he has such hilarious ideas that you think oh my goodness. This is stuff that not only is it funny, but you think you’re going to go home and I think I’m going to do that. Telemarketer calls me, so I’m going to hand the phone to some four year-old.


The jokes that were more about the church or “Christianese” topics seem to get the most laughs from the studio audience in Thou Shalt Laugh! 5. Why do you think that is?

Well, for one, whenever you’re poking about something that people are nervous about, there is a bit of nervous laughter that I can’t believe we’re laughing about this, you know? And let’s face it, it’s called Thou Shalt Laugh! and many of the comedians who are on there are Christian comedians and so if we were an outsider saying some of those things, it probably wouldn’t go over because then it would look like we’re bashing the church or we’re bashing Christian stuff. But when you’re known to be a Christian and you want to crack up the different denominations or the way we say things, then you’re safe in doing that. And when you do that it disarms a lot of the myths or it disarms a lot of our feelings and thoughts about stuff, and I think a light comes on that goes you know, we do take this stuff way too seriously. And so I love that. I have always, you know, in my two and a half hour concerts, thirty minutes of it’s gonna be really targeted to what I know and what I know is church. You know, I’m a preacher’s kid so that’s going to be the base of my material. Like Leland [Klassen], he has these great, big, huge hands. And that’s what he knows and who he is and he includes that. And Joey, his parents really are clowns. [Laughs.] God forbid if he ever winds up in rehab  . . . or in group therapy.


Why do you think that the comedy of Thou Shalt Laugh! 5 is good for people, especially people who grew up in “thou shalt NOT laugh” type of households?

Like my mother? [Laughs.] It’s imperative I think for one thing and I do tell young people all the time who have some complaints about the old fogies at their church. I’m like, 'You know what? Hang in there, ‘cause they don’t live forever.' And two, I think it is time that when we begin to take ourselves so seriously in the church world it makes God look unapproachable. And in my opinion as a Christian I like that I can talk about God, talk to God about you know anything and everything and in my language. I do not have to bow my head, and go, ‘Oh thou art so great.’ I can go, ‘Hey God this sucks.’ And he gets it, you know? And I love that and I think we have made him so distant sometimes that it’s hard for others to look at him as a personal redeemer that he is and so that’s what I love about things like this when a bunch of Christians can get together, laugh and reveal the humanity of themselves and that we aren’t the divine part. I think that’s good for everybody. And the thing I love about all these Thou Shalt Laugh! DVDs, you don’t have to be a Christian or a churchgoer or anything to get it. Funny is funny. And even some of the stuff about church and stuff, even though you’ve never been in a church, it’s funny. And don’t get me wrong. There are sacred moments in our lives that there is no joke for. Nor should there be. And many times in our worship experience it’s a very beautiful and personal thing, so there’s a lot of material that you can tell by having five or six different comedians on one DVD you know what’s missing. And that is the ‘blue material,’ and that is the stuff that just goes too far. So it’s a real blessing to be able to sit and watch something that’s an hour long and laugh your head off and never once did you have to hit the mute button. And comedy is subjective. What I think is funny, my mother thinks is just ungodly. But I know my heart. I have a good heart, and I do talk a lot about my husband; I talk about making out with him. And that doesn’t bother me. Now it might bother some people, and I’ve gotten a few letters down through the years, but . . . I’m very active in my church and I know that young people are hearing a message about sex every five minutes, and it’s not a positive thing. I want people to laugh and joke and laugh about a married couple who’s been married almost 30 years that still have a passion for one another, so that’s why I still stick with that material. Plus, I’ve got nothing else to talk about now . . .  the kids are gone now . . . I can’t exploit them. Now I’m just exploiting my husband.