The New York Times Magazine has a story today about Anita Renfroe, a 45-year-old Atlanta native who made it big on the Internet with her song “Total Momsense” (sung to the tune of “The William Tell Overture”):
There’s more to her than just that song, though:
Renfroe is also a devout Christian and for about eight years has been slowly building a career as a comedian on the Christian women’s circuit. Like Mike Huckabee’s easy humor, Renfroe’s wit comes as a surprise to nonevangelicals. She performs what she calls “estrogen-flavored musical comedy” in large halls and arenas, often with an inspirational group called Women of Faith. At those performances she sells her DVDs and humorous books with religious undertones: “If It’s Not One Thing, It’s Your Mother,” “If You Can’t Lose It, Decorate It” and “Purse-onality.” “I love the way God lets you use everything in your life,” she says about her chosen career as a comic. “It’s cool how it all comes together.”
In other words, she isn’t kidding around when it comes to her commitment to Christ. If the demands of Renfroe’s chosen career seem to conflict with traditional conservative values, she urges skeptics to look beyond what they see of her on the surface. “I don’t even know what the term ‘conservative’ means anymore,” she said. “It’s become politicized to the point that it is almost synonymous with ‘Please check your brain at the door.’ It’s almost like if you’re an evangelical, you immediately get lumped in with the religious right or the fundamentalists.” When I asked her to define her political views further, Renfroe had a small anxiety attack. This may have had something to do with the decision to branch out beyond Christian audiences and also her natural desire to touch as many people as possible by avoiding controversy. Jesus was too conservative for the liberals, and too liberal for the conservatives, was about as far as she was willing to go. “There are so many of us,” she added, “who would probably defy categorization if you tried to peg us.”
What are some of her jokes like?
… [At a Christian event,] She praised her husband, John — shown smiling lovingly on a big screen — and then confessed: “It was easier for me to submit myself to him when I was younger and thinner. . . . But then I got older and gained weight, and it’s harder for me to submit to him. Because basically I think I can take him.”
While she does have a religious audience base, Renfroe says she doesn’t want to defined as solely a “Christian comic”:
“Christian is who I am; funny is what I do,” she told me. “I think the people who make the decisions don’t really care if I’m Christian, Jewish, Muslim or atheist. I think they just care if I’m funny.”
She’s apparently going to be a regular on Good Morning America, not a surprising move from the same network that brought us Sherri Shepherd of The View… but hopefully, Renfroe’s humor will be more intentional.
[tags]atheist, atheism, Christianity[/tags]