Chonda Pierce is a platinum-selling, Emmy-nominated Christian comedian, who has been making audiences laugh for more than two decades now.
Last year, she gave fans a more intimate look at her life in the form of a documentary style film. In addition to her normal stand-up performances, she showed the audience a behind the scenes look into her life, which showcased her struggles with loss, separation, tragedy and depression and finds hope and life through her relationship with God and her fans.
Laughing in the Dark comes out on DVD today, April 5th, and to celebrate the release, we spoke with Chonda to discover how she got into comedy, life as a Christian comedian and more.
Family Christian: How did you get started doing comedy?
Chonda Pierce: I was cast in a show at a theme park called, Opryland USA. Our show, Country Music USA told the history of Country music by impersonating various country stars. I was given the role of Minnie Pearl - mainly to exclude me from the big dance number that followed. Since I was taught as a child that dancing would send you to "hell in a hand basket!"
FC: What comedians inspired you early on in your comedy career? What comedians these days inspire you?
CP: Sarah Cannon (aka Minnie Pearl), Carol Brunette, Red Skelton and Lucille Ball
FC: Was comedy your dream job growing up, or did you have another career path in mind?
CP: I was always interested in the performing arts. Even as a young child I loved the theater and filled my days with community theater, high school productions, college theater, etc.
FC: When did faith begin to play a role in your life? Were you always a “Christian” comedian or did your faith get put into your acts later on?
CP: My faith is never a part of my "act.' My faith is a part of my life - my life with Christ will always bleed over into EVERYTHING I do.
FC: Some Christian rappers have said they don’t like being known as “Christian rappers”, but rather they are just rappers who also are Christians. How do you feel being labeled a Christian comedian?
CP: Sadly, the secular world deems the "Christian" artist as soft, less than or not as interesting. It's a silly judgment... But it exists. Looking back - I see now what a distraction calling myself a Christian comedian can be when trying to legitimize my talent as a comic. But, frankly, I was so excited to not be going to hell that I wore the title proudly!! HA!
FC: How has God spoken to you and worked in your life in the areas of darkness and depression? And how have you been able to use this to be an encouragement to others?
CP: Talking honestly about depression has become somewhat of a calling. I wrote a book called Laughing in the Dark. You should read it sometime! HA!! HA!!
FC: Since creating the film, Laughing in the Dark, has God worked in any new ways?
CP: God has certainly surprised me with the overwhelming success of this movie. I don't feel like anyone "created" anything... I simply lived my life and someone filmed it. GOD did ALL the rest.
FC: Do you have a specific verse or verses that you lean on during troubled times?
CP: Favorite scriptures vary with moods, circumstances, etc. Just like favorite songs! But my overall LIFE verse is: John 6:63 "The Spirit gives life; the flesh counts for nothing..." Puts EVERYTHING in perspective doesn't it!?
FC: Do you hope to make more films like this in the future? If so, can you share some of your plans?
CP: NO! A documentary of the most trying times of my life??? No, thank you!!! I'd love to do some fun movies, some serious acting. But, I'm ready to take a break from tragedy!!
We can't thank Chonda enough for taking the time to answer our questions.
Check out Laughing in the Dark today!