I recently had the pleasure of talking to comedian Chonda Pierce. If you’ve heard of her, you know the girlfriend is funny. If you haven’t, then you’re missing out.
Chonda recently hosted the fifth installment of the long-running comedy event Thou Shalt Laugh—adding, by the way, that it was high time they finally invited her to do so. She’s also got a new personal release titled Did I Say That Out Loud?
Trust me. By her own admission, this Tennessee gal probably did say it, and with fervor. Here’s a clip of her at work:
She told me that stand-up is a lot like therapy, actually. “I get paid to talk about it instead of having to pay for so many shrinks myself,” she laughed. “Is this a great country or what? So everybody just shows up and pays me for the therapy. I’ve always thought, on my stage someday, I’m just going to have a couch, and just lay down there and let her rip!”
No, she’s not afraid to “let her rip.” We talked about a variety of topics—everything from Ethiopia to men to getting older and losing verbal filters. But it was her huge heart for her audiences that most struck me. She’s been through so much in her own life what with parenting, career and living in general, and she wants to touch people through her own pain. Well, at least the pain that’s been filtered through the hard-won gifts of perspective and laughter.
“Young mothers in the audience are on my heart, especially,” she told me. “I want them to know I’ve been in their shoes. There are times, especially with teenagers, that you think ‘This will never end!’ Oh, I see it everywhere. I also see those discouraged young moms that think this is going to last forever. ‘This argument I’m having with my 13-year-old is going to break me and last for eons.’ And we cave. You know, we’ll cave and say ‘OK go ahead, you can friend this 40-year-old stranger on Facebook’ or ‘OK go ahead, I’ll move curfew since it’s a new day and age. I’ll move curfew to one in the morning.’ To that I’m always like, ‘No! Don’t!’ And when I look back at my mother’s idea of parenting—yeah, it became great material for a while—even though it was frustrating when I was a kid, now I want to be the exact same mother she was.”
“It’s OK that you feel like your teenager has sucked your brains out,” she added with a laugh. “And that’s what I say in one of my videos. Then you get to that age where you have no brain, and your teenager is glad to tell you that you have no brain. But there are things out there that can help. And I will say this,” she added, by way of semi-shameless plug, “for family fun, watch Thou Shalt Laugh. They have five of them, you know, and I was on the last one. When the series first came out it was a good way to sit with my teenager. Because even though I do this for a living, he doesn’t think his mother is funny. But at least we could watch another comedian and he thought they were funny. So that worked well!”
There’s a lot of Chonda that “works well.” And here’s hoping she can continue to alleviate some of her audiences’ stress with laughter therapy.