Above all else, John Crist wants to use his comedy to bring joy. He’s a master at it, too, but his fantastic sit-down with Marty Smith shows just how much thought goes into not overstepping.
As any fan of John Crist knows, the comedian says “a lot of my comedy’s around church culture, Christianity, and Southern culture.” Which, for most of us Southerners, typically equals immediate comedy gold.
“Which is what makes it so funny!” Marty Smith echoes of this sentiment during their recent podcast episode. But there’s a whole lot more to it. In fact, Crist himself says that “at the start, it was like… ‘Okay, is this guy with us? Is he with us?'”
For any comedian getting their start – no matter the topic – the audience needs to like you to laugh with you. And when John Crist was beginning, he recalls a lot of pushback before people realized that he is, in fact, a Southern Christian, and one that loves his faith. But if he weren’t? He’d have a whole lot more trouble getting fellow Southern Christians on his side for a few laughs.
For example, Crist cites that “If you are making fun of NASCAR, I know that Marty loves NASCAR!” he smiles to Smith. “No one loves NASCAR more than him!” Which makes for an enjoyable time from a non-malicious party, right?
But for John Crist, audiences won’t always have that built-in knowledge. Instead, he’s found a “slippery” trial period in which people aren’t sure if he means well – or if he’s simply twisting the knife. Spoiler alert: Crist absolutely means well with his comedy routine. And it’s what spins his talents into comedic gold.
John Crist Is ‘One of Us’
Where Marty Smith may see issues with a sport like NASCAR, Crist continues, he himself sees the same with some aspects of the church. John sees these issues, then makes jokes out of them, he says, “because I’m angry at it, too!”
“So I see a church, and a pastor that has, like, a Tesla…” he laughs. “Not that that’s like… I don’t know the guy’s personal life! Or maybe he bought it with investments? But I just go, man, that’s tricky for me to rationalize.”
For audiences listening along, however, it’s all about knowing if John Crist is “with” them or not, he believes. “Because he’s with us, he can say whatever he wants,” Crist smiles of his fans. “But if he’s against us, then that’s very offensive!” And he’s right.
“Because then you’re the outsider making fun of the most sacred things of Christianity.”