The Kings and Queens of Clean Comedy

By Andy Argyrakis | senior editor,
Posted: Wed, 06/29/2011 - 15:50

album promo image for The Kings and Queens of Clean Comedy

Seeing a stand-up comedian in person or on TV can be nothing short of side-splitting, but these days, the content within their programs is often times laden with profanity or controversy. Thankfully though, there’s an underlying wave of clean comics taking charge of the scene, injecting their own unique brand of uplifting entertainment within a funny-bone-tickling formula. Chances are you’ve heard of folks like Bill Cosby, Chonda Pierce and Sinbad, but also be sure to check out the equally impressive likes of Brad Stine, Tim Hawkins, Bob Smiley and many more on gmc’s “Kings and Queens of Clean Comedy” list.

Brad Stine (
Though he’s been going since the 1980s, Brad Stine rose to major fame when sharing his Christian faith within the context of his stand-up routine in the early 2000s. From then until now, he’s earned the cheeky title of “God’s comic” by The New Yorker (who also compared him to a blend of Robin Williams, Sam Kinison, George Carlin and Alan Keyes), appeared on A&E’s “Evening at the Improv,” MTV’s “Half Hour Comedy Hour,” and in gmc World Premiere Movie: "Christmas with a Capital C" alongside Ted McGinley and Daniel Baldwin, while also churning out a slew of books, DVDs and comedy CDs.

Chonda Pierce (
Many music fans caught her commentaries at the 2011 Dove Awards, but most know her from headlining shows or time on tour with Women of Faith. Though the ladies love her outrageous wit, the guys could also learn a thing or two about relationships. Add in a resume that includes various Gaither Homecoming recordings, Grand Ole Opry performances, along with the autobiographical books Laughing in the Dark: A Comedian's Journey Through Depression, and Pierce is a spiritually uplifting ball of fire.

Tim Hawkins (
Even though he doesn’t sound like “Weird Al” Yankovic, Tim Hawkins could very well be considered the squeaky clean alternate to that master of parodying songs. Besides poking fun at today’s top artists, he’s posted plenty of shorts on YouTube and Facebook leading to more than 50 million page views! See for yourself with sketches like “The Government Can” and “Playground Mishaps.”

Bill Engvall (
As a member of the Blue Collar Comedy Tours (alongside Jeff Foxworthy, Ron White and Larry the Cable Guy), Bill Engvall rose to fame sharing stories from his Texas upbringing to uproarious results. Though he still pops up on tour with those folks from time to time, he’s since graduated to headlining status while also interjecting plenty of southern charm on the Game Show Network’s “Lingo.”

Anita Renfroe (
Another Women of Faith regular is Anita Renfroe, who also makes many mainstream appearances as a correspondent on “Good Morning America.” No matter what the format, this fellow firecracker often times comments on motherhood, from the YouTube parody piece “In Tha Muthahood” to the classic song in the making “Momisms,” which crams the countless conversations a parent would have with their child to the beat of the “William Tell Overture.”

Sinbad (
With time on the small screen in “A Different World,” “The Sinbad Show” and “Celebrity Apprentice,” plus silver screen roles in “Necessary Roughness,” “Houseguest” and “Jingle All the Way,” Sinbad is certainly a familiar face. Even amidst the mainstream exposure, he never swears, often basing his act around real life family situations and improvisational interaction with an audience.

Bob Smiley (
Chances are Christian concert attendees have caught Bob Smiley opening for Switchfoot, TobyMac, Third Day, MercyMe, Audio Adrenaline and many more while hosting the Newsboys’ Festival Con Dios tours. Key projects include the Inpop album I’ve Got A Funny Feeling About This and the hysterical, self-esteem affirming book Growing Up Super Average: The Adventures of Average Boy. Also be sure to check out his personal website for a free comedy newsletter.

Patsy Clairmont (
Yet another Women of Faith favorite doesn’t necessarily categorize herself as a comedienne per say, but as a split between “author, speaker, quick wit and fast-paced humor” according to her website. In fact, her latest book Kaleidoscope: Seeing God’s Wit and Wisdom in a Whole New Light encapsulates that very description as Clairmont dips into Proverbs from a quirky perspective.  

Jim Gaffigan (
Splitting his time between comedy and acting has given Jim Gaffigan a diverse list of credits spanning ongoing roles from “Late Night with Conan O’Brien” to “That ‘70s Show” and even a stint on Broadway in the Pulitzer Prize-winning “That Championship Season.” All the while, he’s stayed wholesome behind the mic, often times ribbing his Catholic upbringing and providing several relatable family antidotes.

Bill Cosby (
Our last but certainly not least clean comic just so happens to be the legendary Bill Cosby, who at 73 years young is still going strong on the road. Of course, he’ll always be best regarded for TV shows like “Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids,” “The Cosby Show” and “Cosby” with values-based lessons and moral messages serving as his recurring theme. All the while, he’s racked up armloads of Emmys and Grammys making him amongst the globe’s most decorated, multi-faceted comedians.

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About the Writer

Andy Argyrakis is a Chicago-based entertainment writer/photographer who appears in the Chicago Tribune, IllinoisEntertainer, Daily Journal, Concert Livewire, Hear/Say Magazine and Image Chicago (to name few). His record label writing credits include Warner Brothers, Atlantic, Curb, EMI and Universal, with additional photo credits for Fuse TV, Live Nation, Nikon, Pollstar, Celebrity Access, Paste Magazine, and He’s also the author/narrator of "Access Matthews" (an audio CD tracing the career of Dave Matthews Band) and spends considerable time on tour, including outings with Arlo Guthrie, The Guess Who, Madina Lake (on Linkin Park’s Projekt Revolution) and Gospel Music Channel’s very own "Gospel Dream" (where he served as season one judge).

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