Monday, February 21, 2011
Friday, February 18, 2011
I'm happy that Jesus takes care of people who love racing office chairs! I can't wait to see what happens tomorrow.
Friday, February 11, 2011
Catholic comedian Judy McDonald finds humor in religion
Self-proclaimed “Catholic Comedian” Judy McDonald told her audience the first miracle she ever witnessed was when her food turned from solid to liquid after she ate Cajun food for the first time. Real-life moments like these made up McDonald’s performance, sponsored by Sheil Catholic Center, on her life as a Catholic, The Golden Girls and everything in between.
McDonald performed Tuesday night in Norris McCormick Auditorium and her set poked fun at Catholic stereotypes: pew guilt, confession and a visit to Rome, or what she liked to call “Catholic Disneyland.”
“I hope the people become more confident in expressing who they are,” said Paolelli, co-chair of Sheil’s education committee.
McDonald encouraged the audience to never stop asking questions about their faith before the end of her set.
“The more you know about your faith, the more you understand, the more God delights,” McDonald said.
McDonald sat down with North by Northwestern before her performance at McCormick Auditorium Tuesday night to talk about how she became a comedian and stayed true to herself.
When did you first decide you wanted to be a stand-up comedian?
I grew up watching stand-up comedians like Johnny Carson and all those guys, and I never understood that I could do this for a living until my freshman year [at the University of San Diego] when I went up and did it. I was like, “Oh my gosh. People get paid for this? That’s awesome.” I stayed in school. My parents spent $100,000 on my education, and now I go around being a smart aleck. So, money well spent.
When was the moment you broke into the comedy industry?
It was on my college campus. It was somebody knew somebody who could get me up at The Comedy Store in L.A. I just did it once, and they said, “Come on back.” It was one of those things, I fell into it almost. I didn’t know I could do it. I just kept thinking, “Oh, this is silly. Too bad I can’t do this forever.” Turns out you can. It’s one of those divine things, I think. I think [Jesus] allowed me to discover it and have a passion for it. If you can have a job that you love going to, it’s not a job. It’s a good thing.
You label yourself as the “Catholic Comedian” and explore the humorous side of being Catholic. What does that mean?
My faith is so a part of my life, it just reflects back in my comedy. I observe basically what happens every day. Being Catholic is just funny. I think God has a sense of humor, and I’m just reporting back on what I observe.
Do you find it difficult to make religion funny?
I don’t make fun of religion. I’m making fun of mostly myself. I’m just reporting back on what I struggle with and what I encounter. It’s just taking truth or the actuality of what’s happening and then putting my own spin on it. I’m never really scandalous. It’s just reporting back on the human condition. It’s bound to be funny or sad. We laugh so we don’t cry.
Do you think people who are not Catholic or who are not religious can still relate to your comedy?
I think so. When I started out in the clubs, at The Comedy Store and Laugh Factory, I did this kind of humor. It’s just observational. Laughter, I think, is universal. Laughter brings old and young and Muslim and Catholic and everybody together.
What do you think of comedians who make fun of religion or use more vulgar humor in their acts?
They’re going to Hell. No, to each their own. That’s just not the route that I went down because my mom came to all my shows in the beginning. And my mom always said, be careful what you say, somebody always knows your mother. I can’t judge any of them. I just stick with this. This is just what I do, and it seems to work so far. I’m not getting a real job any time soon.
What are you hoping to do next?
Well, you know, just pay my health insurance, basically. Just continue to do this. I don’t really care if I ever get famous famous. I just enjoy getting to make people laugh for a living. That’s pretty cool. And I don’t have to do math.
Do you have any advice for students looking to make a career out of stand-up comedy?
Stay in school. Get that business or medical degree, because you can always be a funny doctor, but you can’t do surgery if you’re just a comedian. They say to be a writer, you must write. So to be a comedian, you must comedian. Keep a journal and start writing down things you think are funny. Just try it out on all your friends until they get annoyed. The only way you’re gonna know if you’re any good at it is if you get up and do it. And you might fall on your face several hundred times, but who cares?
Saturday, February 05, 2011
|Written by Eddie O'Neill | For The Compass|
|Wednesday, 02 February 2011 09:14|
| Sturgeon Bay — In 2010, Judy McDonald racked up 75,000 frequent flier miles. Doing what? Traveling the country and entertaining crowds young and old with her brand of Catholic comedy.|
The 34-year-old California native was at Corpus Christi Church Jan. 29 for a city-wide Catholic comedy night. The event was aimed at raising money for the area's Life Teen program's upcoming summer mission trip.
McDonald kept the crowd of close to 300 people rolling with her comparisons of life in California versus Wisconsin, recollections about her travels around the globe and tales of being Catholic.
"My comedy is just my observations," McDonald told The Compass. "Since I am Catholic and my faith is an essential part of my life, that's what naturally comes out in my comedy."
She says her career as a standup comedian began in 1994 when she was a freshman at the University of San Diego.
"I went on stage for the first time when a comedian didn't show up for a show and I was hooked. I think at the time I was too young and dumb to know that people are supposed to be scared to do standup. For me, it was a gift to find an outlet or a place to express my voice."
McDonald would go on to do comedy as a side job, performing in clubs and corporate events for more than 10 years. She went full time in 2005. Her numerous performances over the years have included an appearance on the Dennis Miller show, the Weather Channel and opening for widely known comedians such as Paula Poundstone and Mark Curry.
During her days of working out in the comedy clubs she noted that she stood out not because she was more talented but because she was one of the few comedians who kept their material clean.
"My comedy has not changed much in the last 16 years," McDonald said. "If I was an accountant, I would be a Catholic accountant."
Today, the majority of her shows are for Catholic events and audiences around the globe. With her accounts about going to confession to funny stories about visiting Rome, McDonald said that she is certain that performing is her manner of evangelization.
"I honestly believe we are all called to evangelize no matter what our career. I just have comedy as my vehicle to get me there. God used fisherman and tax collectors," she explained. "Why not comedians? Comedy breaks barriers and is a great equalizer. It relaxes people and allows them to be more open to the Good News."
Sarah Gavin, who serves as the Life Teen coordinator for the Sturgeon Bay area, said that that comedy night at Corpus Christi was a success. She was responsible for inviting McDonald to perform. Gavin first learned about McDonald around seven years ago at a Life Teen conference where she was speaking.
"I couldn't get over how funny, yet appropriate she was," recalled Gavin. She spoke with faith and energy and I was drawn to that. So often our world has degrading and nasty humor and Judy proves it's possible to have uplifting humor."
McDonald credits her success as a comedian and entertainer as simply a gift from God. She said that her comedy and having people laugh with her has a bonding effect and it is then that she can begin to share what God is doing in her own life.
"God knew what he was doing when he called me into this ministry. I am constantly receiving more than I give while out on the road," she said. "You could say that the Holy Spirit is my ghost writer. My material is from my life and what I observe and I'm just reporting back. God keeps my material fresh for me."
After more than an hour of non-stop smiles and leaving those in attendance in stiches, McDonald ended the night by thanking the audience for their participation and gave them one last poignant quip.
"I want to thank you and I ask that you continue to support the youth ministry here, because they are the ones who will pick your nursing homes eventually," she noted. "Thank you and good night."