It may have been easy to presume John Crist would go into ministry, given his father is a long-time Christian pastor.
But a decade ago, it was an announcement video he created for a church picnic at New Life Springs church in Colorado Springs, Colorado, that helped him find his calling.
“I was like, we can make this funny,” Crist said. “We should do a spoof on what kind of food not to bring to the church picnic. People laughed at it, engaged with it and more people showed up to the picnic.”
That video led to even more videos Crist produced that have now in total garnered upwards of 300 million views, poking fun at the many aspects of Christian culture, whether it’s the cookie-cutter nature of Christian music, church parking lot road rage and signs you grew up Christian (a more recent video had Crist breaking down wood paneling for the perfect trendy church panel background).
Crist’s viral fame has come largely thanks to a craft he has been honing for years. While he grew up in Georgia as one of eight home-schooled children, Crist eventually ended up in going into stand-up comedy, spending nine years honing his craft and sharing the stage with the likes of Louie Anderson, Jeff Foxworthy, Dana Carvey and Dave Chappelle.
Crist’s stage material has allowed him to perform in churches, corporate events and the dirtiest of comedy clubs. He’s a “clean” comedian who occasionally looks to the work and words of more controversial comedians for inspiration in his own material.
“If you’re going to be a transcendent comedian, you need to write about what you know,” Crist said paraphrasing Louis C.K. “Write the jokes only you can tell.”
Now, as the first comedian ever to join the Winter Jam tour and a welcome change to his fellow musical performers, Crist will start to show his fans what helped bring him to their screens in the first place ... possibly to their surprise.
“I posted a video a while back and somebody said, ‘hey, you should try stand-up comedy,’” he said.
IF YOU GO
Winter Jam 2018
When: 6 p.m. March 31
Admission: $15 at the door, no advance tickets
Where: Rupp Arena, 430 W. Vine St.