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February 11, 2007


Mickey Mephistopheles

Thanks for the article. Ironically, Anton LaVey and Mike Warnke could battle each
other for the title of most-fabricated personal history.


Interesting story, but it broke my livejournal. Check the code.


My favorite Christian comedian is Pat Robertson. He cracks me up!

Norton Zenger

Man. How on earth did I manage to miss the bloody Columbus, Ohio race wars?

Listener Kliph

Maybe I'm thinking of Cincinnati?


This is like a trip down memory lane. I remeber this guy, the expose put out by Cornerstone, the whole nine yards. Great piece of writing.

Justhe Fax

Bruce Koblish was the president of GMA in 1993, not Frank Breeden.

Norton Zenger

Yeah, I'm pretty sure that's Cincinnati you're thinking of.

Listener Kliph

Thanks for the correction Justhe Fax, it has been modified.

D.R. Randle

Interesting account, but you left out several major players in Christian comedy, most notably are Jerry Clower and Ray Stevens. Both were crossovers to secular comedy, but unabashadly Christian, especially Clower. Additionally, while you focused on comedy from an industrial standpoint, Christian comedy has generally taken the shape of humorous sermons given from talented traveling Evangelists. Warnke's story is tragic and shows that there are many lined up to prey on the unsuspecting masses of trusting Christians.

Listener Kliph

Hey D.R.

I was unaware of Jerry Clower's 1977 Word LP of Christian comedy. I don't consider Clower a Christian stand-up, but instead a "country comedian" like Junior Samples, Archie Campbell etc. Had I known about his 1977 "Ain't God Good" I certainly would've included it. Ray Stevens on the other hand, I don't consider a stand-up comedian Christian or otherwise. There are plenty of comedians who are proudly Christian whom I wouldn't neccessarily count as Christian comedians.


I don't recall seeing a mention of a Christian comedy group called ISAAC AIR FREIGHT (obviously a Python derivative), which released a couple of albums in the 80s. It was not strictly stand-up, but more sketch-based comedy. (Isaac's name was picked since it is from the Hebrew for "laugh.")


Ah, Brother Dave Gardner... sweet. I can almost smell the cigarette. This is an excellent history of Christian comedians, but I do feel that you've left a certain somebody out. The Reverend J. Garland McKee is a minister who does impersonations of southern black folk for church groups. His record Laughin' With 'Em was first released in 1969 (I think) and has been reissued many times. From his website, which was last updated in 2005:

"Mr. McKee has been closely acquainted with many Negro people since early childhood. Feeling their wonderful and unusual folklore is a treasured part of Southern heritage and also distinctly Americana, he seeks to be a good ambassador in helping preserve a part of this unique humor for the present and future generations."

The humor isn't so great, and is only vaguely less offensive than Shirley Q. Liquor, but McKee apparently has made quite a career of performing in front of chuchgoers, many of whom were black.

Listener Kliph

Very interesting, thanks Clayton.

Kip W

I have a couple of minutes of video from about 1985 of Jim & Tammy playing host to Fred Travalena's "Christian Comedy" stylings. They try to look amused while he imitates Stallone as "Rocky" and muses on what would happen if Popeye and Brutus, instead of fighting over that spinach, fellowshipped over it instead! He thought it would go... a little like this... (and here he put on the sailor cap and squinted both eyes tightly over his praying hands) "Oh Lord... bless this spinach..." Huk, huk, huk. Jim smiled as always; Tammy looked honestly puzzled, but they both clapped afterward.

I'm just sorry I wasn't fast enough with the VCR the day Tammy Faye and her freakish friends made Mock Apple Pie with Ritz Crackers on "Tammy's House Party." Yum! We lived in Virginia, where Pat Robertson's WYAH was a local station. At least one friend of ours used to watch Jim and Tammy's puppet show. I'll just hang up now and listen.


Interesting story

Trina Daniels

Thanks for sharing! Very interesting story.

There really is a LOT of Christian Comedy in Columbus OH!!!


Don't forget Wendy Bagwell when talking about Christian comedy. His "Here Come the Rattlesnakes" was the first christian recording to acheive gold status!

Charles Pedley

Yes. Well written story. It looks like Mike fell for two things: wealth and story-telling. Regardless of the truth, he was AN AMAZING story-teller and what he said was true! If he had just admitted that it was fabricated and come clean like Jim Bakker in his book "I Was Wrong", he would still be one to be reckoned with. My favorite comedian is actually Al Gore and second Michael Moore. They are both of the same ilk. Gore has his facts wrong, as even his university professor admitted, and wins the Cowbell, woooppps, Nobel, Peace Prize. What a laugh. He has taken in so many people it is amazing. And as if carbon credits reduce anything except the guilty conscience of running a home using 10x the average energy use of other homes of like size. If Al was a comedian, he would be just like Mike. But I don't think it is funny to pay "carbon credits" which are like wooden nickels, into a fund that you control. What a laugh. The sad thing is that he too like Mike has a gift, the gift of story-telling, except that most think what Al says is gospel!,

Charles Pedley

Clarification. The PRINCIPLES that he taught were true. It is obvious the context and details that he wrapped them in, were false. Guess I better learn to use that preview button!

Charles Pedley

Clarification. The PRINCIPLES that he taught were true. It is obvious the context and details that he wrapped them in, were false. Guess I better learn to use that preview button!

Mr. Dark

You missed one extremely important point about Brad Stine that I'm sure plays a part of his relative outsider status, more than probably his politics: his act is about 90% sanitized Denis Leary. The pacing, the yelling, even the dirty blonde hair. It's ironic that a guy who lifted most of his schtick (as Leary did from Bill Hicks) would wind up having his schtick stolen by another guy (Stine).

There's no WAY Stine would last 10 seconds in a real comedy club in front of 'secular' comedians, they'd identify the Hicks-via-Leary ripoff within 10 seconds and either start heckling or give him the hook.

That said, MUCH of what Warnke said way back in the 70's is still brilliant. It explained complex theological concepts such as 'saved by grace' in a funny, simple to understand way. His more serious storytelling was always moving. In short: even though it wasn't true, Warnke was a brilliant storyteller and a truly funny comedian.

Rob Adcox

I take Mike Warnke at his word. I've read his statement and I have no reason to doubt it.


I've also read his statement...nowhere does he specifically mention just what he's guilty of (the only specific sin mentioned are his "multiple divorces", which anyone who read the Cornerstone expose already knew about), and he continues to cling to his long-debunked "ex-Satanic high priest" claim. Also, Warnke probably won't tell you that the "council of elders" whom he submitted himself to were merely cronies that were personally picked by Warnke's PR guy (who, in turn, was personally picked by Warnke in the wake of Cornerstone's investigation).

Joy Morgan

I am looking for recordings (hopefully CD, MP3) of Lewis(sp)Evans message "When Home is Heaven" and "Love, Marriage and God" Any help would be appreciated. Please respond to [email protected] Thank you.

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