Christian comic Brad Stine performs in Clarendon Hills

Standup for the Lord: Brad Stine performs at the Christian Church of Clarendon Hills.
Standup for the Lord: Brad Stine performs at the Christian Church of Clarendon Hills.

Christian comedian Brad Stine started in nightclubs 26 years ago before cultivated a nationwide, faith-based audience for his standup performances, mixing clean-cut observational humor, Christian commentary and conservative politics.

An author (Being a Christian Without Being an Idiot), actor (the upcoming government-suppression Christian suspense thriller “Persecuted”) and concert performer (whose most recent DVD is titled “Defending the Constitution. . .without Shooting Somebody”), Stine is bringing his act to the Christian Church of Clarendon Hills on March 21.

We caught up with him for a quick chat about comedy, politics and why he is — and isn’t — like George Carlin.

Q: How did you get started with comedy?

A: I started out doing a comedy magic act and then that evolved into comedy around 1988. In the comedy clubs, I was clubs just trying to be the funniest clean comedian I could be. Most of the artists in the clubs went the other way and they were also leaning left and getting all the media support, but I thought I could be funny and bring my point of view to the discussion. So that’s what I did.

Then I started to utilize my faith for social commentary and that naturally led to performing for Christian groups outside of the clubs.

Q: Christian entertainment is a thriving industry in general, but are there a lot of comedians doing what you do?

A: It’s a smaller talent pool, of course, because it’s a particular genre of entertainment serving people with a specific religious perspective. As far as comedians making a living doing just that alone…there might be 20, maybe. But I’m just guessing.

Q: How would you describe your standup style?

A: I hope and I like to think it’s intelligent. I think people of faith are often marginalized within the entertainment industry for not being hip, etc. But I hope I’m smart, I hope I’m insightful. I hope I make people think as well as laugh.

I still work clean, of course. I don’t use curse words, I don’t use sexual innuendos, etc. But, that said, my comedy is also kind of edgy. It always has been.

I’m definitely very energetic. People have often compared me to Robin Williams and George Carlin guys like that — but without the curse words of course. (Laughs) And also Carlin was a devout atheist.

Q: What sort of things do you typically talk about?

A: My comedy stands for certain principles, whether it’s religious principles or the way I think the country ought to be run. But then, suddenly, I’ll talk about women being afraid of spiders. I try to have something to say that means something, but I also try to have fun for fun’s sake.

I’m pretty eclectic when it comes to material, but that’s always evolving. I’ll take on any subject I think has value including First Amendment and Second Amendment issues. I have a lot of conservative and Libertarian fans. I’ve performed in political arenas and even at CPAC a couple of times.

At this stage in my life, I’m very concerned and conscientious about my country — and its liberties for all people. I don’t care what your point of view is, whether Christian or atheist. I really don’t. But I do believe in freedom and justice for all. And I think the liberties of Christian people are being trampled on. I want the freedom to express my point of view without judgment — without being told it’s hate speech or intolerant. I consider that censorship.

Q: Do you think of yourself primarily as an entertainer for Christian audiences or as a voice for them?

A: I didn’t go into comedy 26 years ago to be a spokesman for anybody. Comedy’s hard enough. It’s hard enough just to be funny. (Laughs) But as I practiced the art, I found that it could be a way to express my point of view and the point of view of my people. If I can tell people about our position in a way that helps them hear it, I think that can be valuable to culture and society. That’s what I’m shooting for.

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