Comedy icon Chonda Pierce is one of the funniest people on the planet, not only in her sold-out standup shows but also in various productions and now her first starring role in a film, “Roll with It.” The film, which released as a special limited presentation to theaters, releases to digital and home video on June 25 from Shout! Studios.  The film includes additional content, including a blooper reel.

Chonda Pierce stars in ‘Roll with It.’ Image courtesy of Shout Factory.

For the 64-year-old Christian comedian, the long-awaited release has a special family connection, writing the original draft with her late husband, David.

“I had such a tender connection to it because my husband was involved in writing the script long before he passed,” she said. “There was so much personal stuff that went into it.”

“Roll with It,” written and directed by Chris Dowling, is semi-autobiographical, with Pierce playing a newly widowed single mother adjusting to life after the death of her husband. Starring with Pierce is Judith Hoag (“Armageddon,” “Nashville”), McKaley Miller (“Ma,” “Scream Queens”), Evan Hofer (“General Hospital,” “Dwight in Shining Armor”), Carl McDowell (“Ballers,” “Holidate”), and Mark Christopher Lawrence (“Bringing Back Christmas,” “Family Camp”). It also includes cameos from singer-songwriter Michael W. Smith, actress Shari Rigby, and television personality Elisabeth Hasselbeck.

‘Roll with It’ cover art courtesy of Shout Factory.

Now that the film has “rolled out,” Pierce is grateful that she doesn’t have to answer when or where people can watch it. She cited faced many setbacks in the release to theaters and home video, including the Covid shutdown and studio juggling that delayed its release.

In the film’s big moment, Pierce belts out Gloria Gaynor’s “I Will Survive,” which ironically is also the song she does a show-stopping parody of in her live concerts. The comedian said Dowling was “very relieved” when he heard her sing it for the first time.

“The sweetest thing was we went over to record the track, and that was the first time that the director I think realized that I could carry a tune,” she said. “You should have seen how elated Chris Dowling was when I first opened my mouth and started singing like, ‘Oh my gosh, thank you.’ I think he was worried that I couldn’t pull it off, and they were really gonna have to do some kind of miracle (edit). It was hilarious.”

It was also fun to “surprise the gospel music world” that “Oh, she can sing!,” she said.

In addition to “Roll with It,” Pierce has recently released the memoir “Life Is Funny; Until It’s Not,” chronicling the tragedies she has dealt with throughout life, even as she put on a brave, light-hearted face for audiences.

“It’s very raw and very real,” she said. “It’s not an easy book to read and it was certainly not an easy book to write. But I just decided that before I retire and my career is done, I wanted to tell everybody for every valley I’ve walked through, every mountaintop I’ve walked through, there’s a journey in between the climb up and the climb down. And that’s why wanted to write.”

Even though she’s not had an easy life, experiencing death in a “variety of ways,” she is grateful for “an incredible career and a whole lot to laugh about.”

“I don’t think I’m the only person that’s had a tough life as far as comics go,” she said. “If you dive into the past of a lot of comedians, they have really gone through some stuff. My life is no different. But I but I wanted to get it all said. I want someday my grandchildren to see who I really was, and the good and the bad and the ugly of who I really was.”

Pierce was recently recognized by the Recording Industry Association of America as the top-selling female comedian of all time. She credits a strong work ethic that had her prepping a new video every year or two and a solid fanbase who enjoy clean comedy.

“I have probably forgotten more material then than I could possibly remember because of having so many projects and some of them are very tender to me, because every single video every single show and everything I’ve ever done always had a meaning to it,” she said.

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