... And God Said, 'Let There Be Irony.'
God's Pottery has done for gently mocking, hokey Christian music what Sasha Baron Cohen's character Borat did for laughing at Kazakhstan. Guitar player Jeremiah Smallchild and bell player and singer Gideon Lamb are always in character, never do press under their real names (Wilson Hall and Krister Johnson), and earn both laughs and jeers for their work. They did quite well on NBC's Last Comic Standing this summer, and now they're setting out on the road bring the Good Word to comedy clubs.
Tell me a little about your experience on Last Comic Standing. Jeremiah Smallchild: Boy, it was just a lot of fun to on the TV. We've seen TV before, of course, but to be on it was so different. We were able to reach literally hundreds of people. It was a little scary. We felt the pressure, not from the competition, of course, but from knowing we could affect hundreds of lives. Gideon Lamb: Literally hundreds. Most people might not know this. But it takes a lot of people to put on a TV show. They have people whose job it is to run the equipment and stand by the equipment doing nothing. And snack delivery people.
CP: Is it a jarring to go from unknown to nationally famous in the course of a few weeks?
GL: It's pretty impressive. If you combine TV with the Internet, you're going to be hearing from people from Connecticut, Delaware, and Canada; which is another country. It's remarkable how far this show reached. It was like we went to an enormous mixer and everybody wanted to be our friend.
JS: Nationally famous? We're just the same old guys trying to make some new friends and open some hearts.
CP: Do you consider yourselves to be primarily comics or musicians?
GL: Boy, it's a little bit of each I would say. Definitely musicians. Well, more than anything else we're outreach specialists. I would say we got better as the show went on. We got some tips from the professionals. We wrote some funny knock-knock jokes that take the Devil down a peg. But we were there to share our message of clean living.
JS: Gideon wrote a joke about a snake in the desert, and the snake's name is Sandy. It's funny, we do a lot of singing and talking, but really we're professional good listeners. We're also really good at giving hugs.
GL: One thing you didn't get to see on the show is that we're very good actors. We work on our sketches for kids, they're called “Life Skillz.”
JS: It's cool because it has a 'z.'
GL: We tackle the tough issues with the sketches like premarital intercourse.
CP: Does it surprise you to hear that some people question whether you're actually religious?
GL: I tell you what, it did surprise me at first. But people aren't used to a couple of Christian kids being as cool as they are. People look at us and say, 'Look at all the laughing and dancing and high-fiveing, that doesn't fit.'
JS: We might not have tattoos but we can handle tough issues. What's cooler than that? And one thing we learned from the show is that just because you have tattoos doesn't mean you’re a bad person.
GL: And just because you have tattoos doesn't mean that you're a drug dealer. But all drug dealers have tattoos.
JS: And we learned Canadians are normal people too. They're almost exactly like normal people.
CP: How do you two handle temptation on the road?
GL: There are some temptations on the road. Hotels have soda machines, or as you call them, 'pop machines.' And nobody is there to tell me I can't have a sugary soda. So there is some personal responsibility involved.
JS: And often that responsibility falls to me because I am leader. And that adds to my road stress.
GL: There is some freedom too. I can sleep with two pillows if I want, and nobody tells me not to. Well, Jeremiah tells me not to sometimes. And they have ice machines, and USA Today in the lobby.
JS: For free!
GL: Free! I'm not sure if that do that just because we're on tour, but they're free.
CP: Does it bother you that a large part of your audience might be laughing at your religion and values?
GL: I don't think that's really happening.
JS: There's a lot of laughter, but it's with us I think. We're not here to judge. If they want to laugh at us, that's fine. They think they're winners, but, as a line in one of our songs says, it's tough be a winner when you're burning in hell.
CP: I find it a little strange that your bios say you went to Christ Our Leader College, but I can't find any information about the school.
GL: Well, it's not technically accredited. We haven't been back in a while so I'm not sure if we could even find it on a map.
JS: They also allowed me design my own major called "Christian Practicality in the Everyday, Every Day."
GL: And I was General Studies.
JS: But you did really well.
CP: Anything else you'd like to mention about your show at the Acme Comedy Company?
GL: I'd just like to say that we're going to try to bridge the river.
JS: We're going to relieve the tension between the two cities because we're specialists.
GL: We're going to insist that people from each city sit together at our show.
Give God's Pottery a listen at The Acme Comedy Club at 8 p.m. through Saturday, also at 10:30 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. $15. 612.338.6393.
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