Although being a “Christian” comedian may sound like an oxymoron, Tim Hawkins has made it work and has enthusiastically cornered the market on godly comedy. He entertained a full audience at First Fort Lauderdale on February 22nd.
A St. Louis native, Hawkins grew up in the church and over the years made his way through a variety of them. As only Hawkins could so comedically put it, “people can sleep through any denomination.” In a church world where many times there is so little laughter, Hawkins fills the room with an abundance of it, poking fun at the daily chores of life, family and the life of a Christian. He says it’s all in good fun, and is just as ready to laugh at himself as his audiences are to laugh with him.
“There are so many people who have had a negative experience with church, they’ve seen a loveless introduction and a God of rules. Lucky for me I always had a positive experience and loved the environment of the church. I became a Christian at six, so it’s always been a part of me,” said Hawkins. “I always saw Christianity as a simple and easy decision, like this is just it.”
Hawkins, a former grocery truck driver, left his job in 2002 to chase his dream of becoming a full-time comedian. His brother also left a lucrative job behind to become Hawkins’ manager. And although many would label Hawkins’ career as a “calling” on his life, he sees it as a gift of God’s grace, doing what he loves and enjoying every minute of it.
And you can’t help but love his humility when he talks about his successful life in show business.
“A lot of us think that God has a specific call on our lives and we pressure ourselves to find out what that is. But the calling is more about the relationship between him and us. If anything, I am called to be a husband and a father to my children. It’s about taking your kids to the playground and being present while you are there. Being a comedian is grace driven.”
Hawkins started his venture into comedy in the 90’s in comedy clubs and mic nights at churches. It was soon after that he realized he had found a niche in the church environment and went with it. He started to record himself and upload his videos to Youtube.
“YouTube was the engine where it all started. A young kid made a stick figure video to go along to one of my songs, and it took off from there,” said Hawkins. And he wasn’t kidding. Since that video’s debut on Youtube, Hawkins’ songs and comedy routines have garnered over 300 million views and climbing.
“It used to be about handing out flyers or postcards, now it is all about videos.”
And if you’ve never heard of a Christian comedian, Hawkins says he hasn’t either. “I mean, you don’t go looking for a Christian plumber do you?”
In a world where cursing and crudeness is regularly part of the act, Hawkins’ act is G rated, family friendly and open to anyone. All are welcome. And that is the hallmark of his mission statement.
“I want to be as funny as humanly possible,” he said. “I want to connect with audiences — that’s where the spiritually thing comes in. The more He changes us the more He comes out in my life.
“Most of my comedy now comes from reality. I find laughs come from human connection, joy. We have to look at the basic needs of the individual. We have a need for certainty and a need to relate. It’s a passion — that’s why I’ve been successful.”
The other reason Hawkins is so successful is that he puts his family first. Hawkins’ rule is that he doesn’t travel more than three or four days at a time and is home from Monday to Thursday.
“The challenge is when you go home to make sure you engage and be present. I’m a dad at home, that’s what I am,” He said.
And as with anything outside the box, Hawkins gets his fair share of not so nice letters. “But with every bad letter comes a good one. It definitely gives you some perspective when you hear that you’ve changed someone’s life. I am so grateful for it all.”
Diary of a Jackwagon
Along with his comedy tours, Hawkins also recently branched out into the writing world. His book, Diary of a Jackwagon, is scheduled for release in August of this year. “It’s a collection of sorts of some of the type of material I do on stage,” he explained.
The title of the book is of course indicative of some of the belly laughs you can expect in the book. “If you are wondering what a Jackwagon is, it’s part of the Christian cuss words I include in the book.”
You can check Tim out at www.facebook.com/timhawkinscomedy and Twitter and Instagram at timhawkinscomic. Tim’s tour dates, merchandise and videos can be found at www.timhawkins.net.
Melissa Zelniker-Presser is an attorney who is following her God-sized dream of becoming a full time writer. Melissa currently runs a blog workforthecausenottheapplause.com and is also working on a non-fiction book detailing her journey to Christ as a Jewish believer. She can be contacted at [email protected]