Chonda Pierce: Stand-Up for Families
She's the certified top-selling female comedian of all time with three Platinum DVDs and eight Gold DVDs, which signify sales of nearly a million copies. Yet, somehow, few in Hollywood know her name: Chonda Pierce. When it comes to clean comedy, few can argue Chonda's influence. That's likely why the Dove Channel reached out to "The Queen of Clean" for their first foray into original programming. It's called Chonda Pierce Presents: Stand-Up for Families. The three one-hour episodes (premiering April 5, May 3 and June 7) feature some of the funniest people Chonda knows.
"I was excited for them to have that national exposure," Chonda says of fellow Christian comics like Cleto Rodriguez, Rik Roberts and Sandi Joy. "I think the time is right in the nation-- we're looking for comic relief."
Chonda watched the show with her son Zachary, 26, munching on popcorn and wearing sweatpants.
"I stare at my hips and fuss for the first ten minutes at how much I need to lose weight," admits Chonda. "Then I watch the delivery and I laugh at everything."
Chonda says there is something for everyone's tastes. While one comic had her son rolling on the floor, Chonda laughed her head off at another.
"If everyone got up and talked about Spanx or menopause, it would be boring," she jokes, but not really.
One of her favorite up-and-comers featured on the show is Kay Dodd, a comedian who Chonda proudly points out lost 35 pounds before taping the series.
"Her delivery is dead pan hysterical," describes Chonda, who knows the comic's difficult past. "She's been sober for 25 years. She's walked that road of addiction. She climbed out of a difficult marriage and is such a woman of God. I'm so excited about the new successes coming her way."
Chonda has no problem sharing the spotlight and is thankful that Hollywood seems to be noticing the increasing demand for family friendly entertainment. She urges fans to let their wallets do the talking.
"Hollywood's not hating everyone; they're just going with what sells. People get wrapped up about what's on television. Then stop watching and don't buy the products that sponsor that show!" she explains. "We who like clean, Christian entertainment--we still have a vote. That vote is with your dollar. Spend it wisely."
For proof that movie goers want inspirational, faith-filled stories of redemption, look no further than Chonda's deeply personal documentary, Laughing in the Dark. Released via Fathom Events last fall, the movie earned more than $1.1 million at the box office in just two nights. The project began as a behind-the-scenes look at Chonda's life. But as the cameras started rolling, her life began to fall apart.
"What we discovered we'd captured was a story of survival and how you hold on to God when life is difficult," she explains. "It just became a love story of how much I love Jesus, even when I'm angry and upset and sad, and how much I loved my husband even though he passed away." As painful as the project was, Chonda says she's been encouraged by the people who have been helped through her testimony.
As she knows firsthand, laughter is great medicine for any struggle or heartache. She brings her fierce wit and southern charm to churches across the country, invitations she's always grateful for.
"When a building allows you to put your name on the front of it, and you get to use their sanctuary, that's powerful." And through Stand-Up for Families, Chonda hopes to hand out more healing doses of laughter to homes across the country.