Comedian Chonda Pierce on what's funny and what isn't

Comedian Chonda Pierce attends a Dove Awards Press Conference at Georgian Terrace Hotel - Livingston on February 22, 2012, in Atlanta, Georgia.
Comedian Chonda Pierce attends a Dove Awards Press Conference at Georgian Terrace Hotel - Livingston on February 22, 2012, in Atlanta, Georgia. | Moses Robinson/Getty Images for Gospel Music Association

We've all heard the phrase that laughter is the best medicine. While it might seem hard to believe that laughter contains medicinal properties, scientific research reveals that it can boost your immune system, lower blood pressure and trigger the release of endorphins.

But what is laughter really? Simply said, it is a gift. Laughter can recharge your focus, give you a much-needed break when facing a stressful situation, and even renew your spirit to find the courage to face a highly difficult season of life.

Chonda Pierce knows this all too well. A stand-up comedian blessed with a combination of Southern charm and feisty wit, she has a very good sense of what is funny … and what is not. Chonda also knows laughter can have a short shelf life. That life is not always a series of jokes to make you smile. And even though you might be laughing on the outside, something very different is happening on the inside.

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“I spent 31 years on the road telling the funny stuff and the goofy stuff, and telling stories about my father and our dysfunction and all of that,” says Pierce, who has sold more comedy albums than any other female comedian in history.

“And I didn't want my career to end without me telling the gut-wrenching truth about myself. It's one thing to give a word of testimony and go, ‘The Lord saved me when I was 4.’ I have to go, ‘He saved me when I was 4, 7, and then a few times in high school and about eight times in college.’ It's the in-between of those salvation moments in my life that I've never really talked about.”

In her latest book, Life is Funny Until It’s Not: A Comic’s Story of Love, Loss, and Lunacy, Chonda shares her deep pain, personal darkness and the lifetime of challenges that served as the genesis of the material that millions of people have found side-splittingly funny for more than 30 years.

But through it all, God was there, on top of every peak and at the depths of every valley. Chonda's story of unshakeable faith will certainly inspire people to turn to God and trust His never-ending faithfulness.

“My greatest hope is that people see a thread of Christ through every chapter, even the bad stuff, the hard stuff,” Pierce shares. “I want people to see a person clinging to Christ on a good day and on a bad day. And that is the only way you make it through.”

Pierce joins us on the "Crossmap Podcast" to talk about the good, bad and ugly parts of her life. Listen as she expresses why it's important for her to share these secrets with people and what advice she has for someone who is scared to share traumatic experiences with family and friends.


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