BOTKINS — Best-selling comedian and “Queen of Clean” Chonda Pierce will be performing in Botkins this month as part of her comedy tour across the midwest and southern United States.
“As a young girl I was into theater and television and Carol Burnett,” Pierce said in a phone interview with the Sidney Daily News. “In college I would always audition for the funny roles, and somewhere in me was the desire to be funny.”
Pierce got her start performing professionally at Opryland Theme Park in Nashville, Tennessee, as a dancer in one of the shows; she recalls being a terrible dancer and in order to save her job, she memorized three pages of jokes from Grinders Switch and began performing as a Minnie Pearl impersonator. Over the six years she impersonated Pearl, she would slip her own jokes into her act.
“I fell in love with the sound of the crowd laughing, and the craft of putting the right words together to make them laugh,” Pierce said.
Pierce eventually left her job at Opryland Theme Park to start a family, and at the time couldn’t have dreamed of pursuing comedy while having her feet planted in the church world. But a few years down the road, there was a program hosted by her church and the main act fell through. She filled in with her comedy and the reception was so good, she was passed from church to church to perform.
“Before you know it, a career was started,” Pierce said. “I’m blessed, because I’m not an outsider making a jab, I’m an insider; I don’t ridicule, I say this has made me what I am. I honor my roots but I speak true.”
In the past, Pierce has often quoted Lucille Ball, saying “I’m not funny, I’m brave.” She finds that her bravery comes from her willingness to talk about tough subjects that Christian audiences can relate to.
“Comedy is not easy. It’s like standing in front of the world naked; there’s no music, no costumes, nothing. It’s just you,” Pierce said. “If you do it right, you make it look easy, and people think that they can do it, too.”
Opening for Pierce is comedian Bone Hampton, who is a family friend Pierce has known for the last 25 years. Despite coming from different walks of life and having different life experiences, Pierce considers Hampton family and is happy to share a stage with him.
“I have the best of both worlds coming with me, he’s like family,” Pierce said. “Showing love through diversity is what’s always been in my heart. We don’t have to look alike and be alike to love each other. I think we’re in a time and culture where we’re divided, and you have to learn how to tell people your beliefs with love and respect. That’s not something we’ve learned to do in this country.”
While Pierce loves performing in large cities, she’s looking forward to performing in Botkins.
“I am still blessed that people find the time and the money to see me,” Pierce said. “Having a good laugh is a really great break, and I’m hoping they can trust me with their time.”
Pierce will be performing on March 15 at 7 p.m. at Only Believe Ministries Christian Center, 13815 Botkins Road. Tickets are priced between $26 and $55 and can be purchased online at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/chonda-pierce-live-in-concert-tickets-86200906231.
Reach the writer at 937-538-4825.