Stand-Up and Standing Out

Being one of the few Christian comedians in Australia isn’t an easy road. ‘If you think you want to be a stand-up comedian,’ Newcastle’s Uncle Nath told Alex, ‘God’s probably calling you to do it. Or you’re insane. It’s one or the other.’

The cool thing about comedy, he says, is that unlike, say, a career on Broadway, there are no gatekeepers. When he decided to give it a shot, he just signed up for an open mic, and went for it. ‘I just went into a pub, and did some of my clean stand-up jokes that had been working good at Church. And that was terrifying.’

If it hadn’t gone well, he would have probably quit then. That’s the not-so-cool thing about stand-up. He calls it ‘a hostile performance art’, because sometimes, things do go very badly. ‘It’s the only art form where it’s totally acceptable to just scream abuse at the performer if he’s not doing well. Imagine at the Opera! This is terrible! You can’t sing!’

Nath’s strategy is to test his jokes in Church. ‘One day during a sermon, they heard me screaming about cats, and they’re wondering what’s going on with this guy!’ If they work for a Church audience, he’ll take them to the pub and, if they go down well there, they make it into his show.

The technique is working out for him. His ‘clean comedy’ has been a hit at youth groups, but it’s also winning him spots in secular venues. Recently, he even did a show at Fringe Festival, which is famously very alternative. ‘There was a bit of like, why are you here? So I say to my friends I was the fringe of the fringe.’

But being a Christian in the comedy scene does leave him feeling like an outsider at times. ‘We’re just not the cool kids. And I think there’s some people who don’t really like Christians. And a lot of normal stand-up is jokes about Jesus, and about the Church. And so I think they feel uncomfortable with me being there.’

Nath knows other Christian comics who are less open about their faith. But he’s determined not to take that road. ‘I grew up in a broken family. My mum had moved away when I was younger, and she was living in another state. And I was terrible at school. I was in the bottom of every class.’

The Church saved my life. So there’s nothing else I can say

At 15, he’d dropped out of high school, and couldn’t even get a job at McDonalds. He said he was the kind of bloke even shopping malls would kick out. The people around him are proof of how his life could have gone. He could have wound up in prison like his brother, or struggling with addiction like his friends.

Instead, when no one else would have him, the Church took him in. ‘They taught me how to put a resumé together. They bought me nice clothes so I could go to an interview. They just loved me and raised me. And so today, I call the Church my mother, because the Church, she mothered me. She saved my life.’

He didn’t know this then, but the Church is raising up people like him in every city in the world. ‘If you’re a Christian person, don’t let some muppet on YouTube who lives at home with his mum tell you what the Church is all about. Because the Church does more than that dude with his hashtags has ever done.’

‘I really stand by that. Even though being a Christian comic limits the kind of gigs you’ll get. But you know what? The Church saved my life. So there’s nothing else I can say.’

Uncle Nath thinks we need more Christians to stand up and do stand-up for the Church. But he says if you want to be a comedian, you should be prepared for people to get offended. Yes, even clean comedy upsets people. But as someone once told him: ‘If you want people to leave you alone and not harass you, it’s easy. Just say nothing, do nothing, and be nothing.’

So was Uncle Nath called by God to be a comedian? Or is he just insane? He doesn’t know just yet. ‘This may not be a comedy career. This could be the most public nervous breakdown a Baptist Pastor has ever had. Time will tell.’

Listen to the interview below.

 

About the author

Jonathan Craig

MORE GREAT READS FROM

Manic Drive Go Into the Wild

Canada’s Manic Drive have been around since 2004, but recently they’ve taken a new approach to their music. Rather than just writing songs for people who are already on their Christian walk, they’re now also reaching out to people who don’t know about Christ. That decision is represented by their new album and single, both…

Songs About Our Culture

We reckon every new track Branan Murphy puts out is gold. Adopted by older parents, he grew up listening to the Beatles and the Beach Boys, which taught him an old-school respect for melody. But his thoughtful reflections on living in faith really set him apart. ‘I grew up in the Southern United States,’ he…

Stand-Up and Standing Out

Being one of the few Christian comedians in Australia isn’t an easy road. ‘If you think you want to be a stand-up comedian,’ Newcastle’s Uncle Nath told Alex, ‘God’s probably calling you to do it. Or you’re insane. It’s one or the other.’ The cool thing about comedy, he says, is that unlike, say, a…

How Apollo LTD Got their Name

For Jordon Philips, the hardest part of being in a band is working out what to call it. ‘We’ve always hated naming bands,’ he admitted to Alex. ‘It’s the worst!’ Adam Stark shouted in the background. Read on for the story of how they decided on their name, or listen to the podcast of their…

More Than Conquerors

Can you preach the Gospel by bending, smashing and breaking stuff? That’s the mission of the Conquerors Strength team from the US. Each of their amazing feats has a message behind it. ‘Jesus died for U,’ they tell audiences, ‘like the shape of this horseshoe. But if you accept him into your life, He becomes…

Pastor Chef’s Tips for a Balanced Lifestyle

Mark Kujawa, the Pastor Chef, says that when it comes to cooking, everyone wants ‘quick and easy’. He says that’s partly because we live in ‘a lazy culture’. But if you’re well-prepared, ‘quick and easy’ is actually possible. ‘I can do Spag Bol in about 10 minutes,’ he said. ‘So quicker than a Friday night…

The Truth About Millennials

Millennials are just THE WORST, right? At least, that’s what our elders say. There are seemingly endless pieces in the press talking about how terrible we are. Pastor Ben Windle has spent two years researching us, and he says we aren’t as bad as all that. Next time someone starts a story with ‘back in…

Shooting for Jesus

Jeremy Kendle has played basketball for some of Australia’s best teams since he moved here from the USA in 2015. He’s part of the Toowoomba Mountaineers’ team and was named the Queensland league’s most valuable player. A great season with the Bendigo Braves earned him a spot on the Brisbane Bullets’ roster. He also played…

More Than Her Bruises: Holly Starr

‘In a world where the truth is confusing, you are more than your scars and your bruises.’ These words reflect a lesson Holly Starr has learned the hard way, through some experiences that challenged her faith and her sense of identity. ‘Bruises’, one of our favourite tracks from last year, offers hope and perspective to…

Becca Bradley on Being Happily Unmarried

Listen to the audio interview below https://getmediapoint.com/document/episode/podcast/MDAwMTQ3MzcwNi5tcDM.mp3   In Church these days, young single women are facing massive pressure to find a partner. But in a recent Facebook post, 27-year-old singer Becca Bradley wrote: ‘I’m waiting until I find a man who loves me as much as my dog does. And she loves me a…

Alex in Nepal for Miracles Day

Recent Articles

Manic Drive Go Into the Wild

Canada’s Manic Drive have been around since 2004, but recently they’ve taken a new approach to their music. Rather than just writing songs for people who are already on their Christian walk, they’re now also reaching out to people who don’t know about Christ. That decision is represented by their new album and single, both…

Jots and Tittles: Shalom

If ever you go to Israel, this ancient word will definitely be the most useful by far to know. It’s an all-purpose greeting, used for ‘hello’ and ‘goodbye’—even though it doesn’t mean either of those. It’s also useful as a response. Someone says, ‘Shalom’ to you and the correct reply is ‘Shalom,’ or if you…

Brave the Wild

A testimony is not just one event in your life that defines or answers all—it is a continuous journey with uncertain terrains, challenges and obstacles. These trials build us, making us stronger and leading us in a path of faith. I grew up in a beautiful Christian home. Loving and supporting parents and an extended…

Live Different: Allegra

My name is Allegra! I’m 14 and I live in beautiful Tasmania. I am homeschooled, one of three kids, and an artist. I want my life to glorify Jesus only. I want His way, plan and will for my life to be accomplished. I’ve always wanted to get married! But I had no idea how…

Donate to vision

Over 80% of our income is from the freewill gifts of wonderful people just like you.
So thank you for helping. Your generous support is 'Connecting Faith to Life'.