I always pride myself as being one of the loud, few "Out of the Closet Christians" in Hollywood today. I've been blessed to have opportunities to appear on national shows like CNN's Showbiz Tonight talking about my faith on current events and much more. But I realize this transition wasn't something I planned. And I'm a planner.
When I started out in my career as a standup comic I was playing characters with the scripts already written for me. After paying my dues I created my own act and was free to say things that I'm passionate about. I got the control we "type A women" love.
One night I was appearing at a famous Hollywood comedy club with other female comics doing disgusting sexual jokes and basically making fun of anything moral or Christian. One lady even brought a "Christian" book on stage and belittled it. I had to follow her act and all I could do was to hope for the best. People loved my jokes and the fact that I said things like "Well we Christians are Hot Right now! The Passion is a hot movie! We're the new Kabala!" I knew I had to just continue being unafraid of my beliefs and of course be funny. There was a TV producer in the audience who stopped me after the show. He said he wanted to meet with me about some possible TV opportunities based on my comedy act about my life as "Good Girl." He was really intrigued and thought it would be a refreshing concept for a sit com such as a modern day" Mary Tyler Moore." We had some meetings and he was really excited about working with me. I was really new to the comedy scene but I knew from being in TV and film these opportunities are a big deal.
One night Ben, the producer, arranged a big showcase for this huge Hollywood manager/sit com producer to see me about a possible development deal with a major network. It was at the biggest club in LA. I remember being so nervous that night. The guy working the box office was a friend of mine and fellow comic. He saw that I was nervous and did the strangest thing. He shut down the ticket booth and reached over and prayed with me. No one had ever done that in public before. It was sweet.
I went on to have a good show and met Ben and the TV exec later on for dinner. The response was positive about my act and I was pleased. Later that week Ben called and the first thing he said was "You really played that whole God card hard, huh?" I didn't know what he meant. He continued "Ya know you mentioned God several times on stage and that's really going to pigeon hole you with those people." "What people?" I asked. "You know those Christians. If you want to make it big in this town you have to manipulate your faith and not be so open about it. I even saw you praying before the show. That's a bad move if you want to be successful." I was in shock. I felt like I was being punched in the gut literally. I didn't know how to handle it and I took a day to think and pray. Then I found this verse in the bible "Blessed are those who are persecuted in my name." I thought "Wow! This is really happening and it hurts but I'm honored to stand up for Jesus for the first time in my life." I called Ben and politely witnessed to him all about how my faith was way more important than anything he or Hollywood had to offer. I knew I trusted God. He would give me all the deals in His perfect timing. I told him and when God comes back someday to judge the earth. I want to be pigeon holed with my people, the Christians. Ben and I never did work together. I went on to be more blessed with opportunities than I could ever ask for. And by the way I married the guy in the ticket booth who prayed for me, comedian Ron McGehee! See? God's good like that!
Labels: Christian, persecution, standing up for God