CHANGE got a chance to sit down and chat with veteran Christian comedian Akintunde! We discussed everything from his new DVD to his call as a Christian comedian. His résumé includes stints as a writer/creative consultant for BET’s The Mo’Nique Show. He has also done stints as a monologue writer for Chris Tucker and It’s Showtime at The Apollo. He recently signed as an artist with Arrow Records. Akintunde took time out of his busy schedule to give us advice on having fun, and some information about his soon-to-be released DVD.
It is such a blessing to have such a talented comedian (as yourself) produce such good Christian comedy. When did you discover this extraordinary calling on your life?
I got saved in 1999, and my career got saved two years later. I used to say a lot of crazy stuff on stage back then. For two years I went back and forth between cussing and repenting. Dr. Dollar played a big part in helping me keep my comedy clean. I was on the road in Columbia, South Carolina one night, doing a show in a comedy club. I had been cussing on stage all that night. I felt so bad that I got drunk afterward. I asked God a question, and he answered me through Dr. Dollar. I get chills when I think about it. I asked God the question plainly. At about 5 A.M. the next morning, I woke up and I saw Dr. Dollar on TV. God answered the question so clearly that it scared me. I said, “God, you’re real!” I called my wife and said, “I don’t know how we are going to do this, but I can’t do this (comedy) the way I did it before.”
Do you see comedy as a ministry?
It is definitely a ministry—to get a chance to distribute laughter as healing medicine and to be used by God to bring joy and laughter to people—it’s totally ministry. Otherwise, comedy is a very selfish art form. It is usually about you trying to get laughter from people so you can feel good, but when it becomes ministry, you want to distribute laughter as a tool for healing.
You also write comedy for certain secular TV shows. Can you tell us about your experience with writing material for TV? Does it ever clash with your Christian beliefs?
You have to be led by the Holy Spirit because there will be times when you will face certain situations in a secular setting that conflict with your faith and your spiritual walk. My walk is not worth a check.
On your new DVD, you talked about how we as Christians can have fun. Not all Christians know how to have a really good time, so can you give us some suggestions about how we can have fun as Christians without compromising our values?
Psalm 126:2 says, “Our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with joyful shouting. Then they said among the nations, the Lord has done great things for them,” (New American Standard). The world needs to see us in church having a good time. They need to see us laughing and being festive so they will know that we don’t just come to church and get deep and cry. Sometimes you are deep and crying, but sometimes you’re at church and it’s like a comedy show! I love the fact that pastors are now using comedians for Sunday morning services. People need different types of healing, and laughter is a healing tool.
Akintunde is also preparing for the 2011 Rebirth of Comedy Tour along with a talent show, The Search for the One, which is a nationwide talent quest. His new DVD, The Truth, the Whole Truth and Nothing But, will be released by Arrow Records on May 15. You can purchase the DVD at a store near you or by visiting arrow-records.com.
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