Do you consider yourself a Christian?
Yeah. My dad never went to church, but one day he started coming with us, and I said, "Can I ask you why suddenly you're going to a Christian church?" He was studying a lot of religions--Judaism, Buddhism, he was meditating... He said for him God was God and you can access Him a number of ways. That was really powerful to me.
You've done some pretty outrageous sets, what some people would call sacrilegious.
You're going to mention the time I pretended I was a Christian comic. Before I was known, I would go on stage and pretend I was other people. Once I pretended I was mentally handicapped. It was really wrong. One time I was a bad magician. And one time I pretended I was a Christian comic. I came on and I said, "I am a Christian comic and I'm going to make you laugh just as much as the next guy, but I might have a side message underlying it." Then I did this horrible comedy, and what happened was, I had a slight case of Tourette's, so I would start doing a joke and I would be like, "Get out!" I would do this totally anti-Christian swearing. People thought it was really happening, because I wasn't known yet. And no one was laughing, they were legitimately concerned and freaked out. Back then it really turned me on to freak people out.
Besides getting a laugh, was there a point to that?
No, no, there was no meaning. I've never actually seen a Christian comic. I don’t care if you're a Christian or an atheist. I'm not out to offend Christians or make fun of Christianity. I put it out there and people make up their own stuff--it is really their issues. There are atheists and there are Christians and there are people in both groups who are a little too heavy-handed. It's comedy, just lighten up. We're just trying to be funny.
Did you ever think that you might be offending some people?
I do not like to offend groups. I'm the first to ask, "Is this going to be offensive?" There are things I will not do. I don’t think there is anything funny about anything to do with children or child porn or child abuse. It needs to be addressed, but not in a comic way.
Do Christians have a sense of humor?
Heck, yeah. In every group there are people who are funny and people who are just serious. The ultimate is when you make people laugh, but they are left with something to make them reflect, or to move them--to really affect the quality of their lives in a positive way. Sometimes just the act of laughing does that. That's why I don’t try to have a message. If they are laughing, they're being affected in a positive way. Sometimes, to get to people who are real lost, you have to almost shake them up. You just lighten them up a little bit, and maybe they are on their way. I'm candid in order to get to those people, cuz I have been in such dark places.
I mean this stuff. People don’t know that about me. They just think I'm a freak. You cannot be this successful without having God on your side.
Some comedians say their talent is a gift from God.
Oh yeah, but you can squander that. It is totally my God-given gift and I say, "Dear God, please let me be an empty vessel to do your work. This is all you. Thank you."
Then I can relax, because if the show falls flat, it is God. I am serious. You can look at it as a cop out, but really I look at it like I have somebody big watching my back. Seriously. And that is why I kick ass. I kick ass because it is not just me. It is me and God.
Do you pray?
I pray a lot. I pray more than most people. I honestly think I pray more than a lot of churchgoing Christians.
Do you read the Bible?
No. I don't know the Bible well, but I quote it a lot. I have people around me--I do this on purpose--I have this guy Declan who is a living Bible. It's like walking around with a giant Bible next to you. Everything that goes on, he has some quote, then I find myself quoting that.
You've obviously been through a lot. Do you want people praying for you?
Yeah, don’t you? I really do. I think it's wise to have and it's why I am kicking butt. I was sober for three years and when I started getting in my own head again, started getting real dark I had Sherri pray and Declan was in Europe and he got this convent full of nuns to pray for me, and whatever happened, I had a turnaround, like a 180. I cannot even describe it. Incredible.