Bob Smiley Comedian – Touring Like A Rock Star… Almost!
Bob Smiley is one of the most sought after comedians in the Christian entertainment industry today. With seven DVDs and CDs under his belt, two books, and a cross-country tour currently underway, you will have ample opportunities to catch Bob in action, and you can find out more about these opportunities at Bob Smiley’s website.
Bob credits his early success to being the comedic emcee on the tours of famous bands such as Newsboys, Third Day, and Mercy Me, which allowed him to hone his skills in front of large crowds. He also served as the Merchandise Managing MC during these tours. His clean alternative approach to comedy and the fact that he used the word “booger” in his routines earned him many invitations from college students to perform at their campuses. He loves his job, and he is now considered one of the best and brightest that the comedy game has to offer. He has been touring extensively with Tim Hawkins, John Braynon, and Jonnie W., who each share the same management group Rock Show Comedy Inc. You can check out their Rockshow Comedy Tour DVD here.
The man has come a long away from winning a $500.00 amateur stand-up competition when he was in college, where his only competition according to him was, “a grown man wearing an oversized sombrero with no act…so…I won the money and the tender hearts of my fellow students.”
With a name like Robert Antonio Smiley, I guess smiling comes natural!
Are you considered a Christian comedian or a clean comedian? What is the difference?
I’m a Christian that does stand up. I’ve always found the title “Christian comedian” strange because you don’t call a believer that practices law a Christian lawyer. Actually, that’s a bad example because there probably isn’t any Christian lawyers out there. (That’s a joke. If you’re a Christian and a lawyer reading this please don’t sue me!) Anyway, I talk about my faith and share my testimony during my shows, so a lot of people call me a Christian comedian, but my show is also obviously clean. So some people call me a clean comedian. Others call me different names. For instance, the guy behind me in traffic yesterday called me a…actually that’s not important right now. Hopefully people just consider me a Christian on and off the stage. So I’m happy with whatever people call me — except maybe that guy yesterday.
How did you get hooked up with Tim Hawkins?
When Tim first started doing comedy he emailed me. He’d heard my first CD and just wanted to introduce himself. We hit it off right away and started bouncing ideas off each other through email. Finally someone brought us both in to do a show together so we got to hang out. We started talking about doing more and more shows together. I like traveling with him because normally I’m the strangest person in the room but with Tim it’s not even close!
How did you get started in Comedy?
I did a stand-up competition in college. I actually just did it for the cash prize, which was $500. That was four month’s rent where I lived! I won the competition and two years later this guy called me. He told me that he saw that comedy show I did in college and was now on the road managing a singer named Clay Crosse. They were about to leave for tour and decided to take a comedian out with them to sort of emcee the show. He asked if I wanted to go on tour with them. I thought it’d be fun to travel for a bit before getting a real job so I took it. Well, several bands started asking me to tour with them as well and that’s how it all got started. God basically opened the door for me, which is great, but it’s also not how most comics get started. This is awkward when kids come up to me after the show and ask how to get into comedy. All I can tell them is to do a stand up competition during their junior year in college and wait for someone to call them.
What is your process for writing jokes? How often do you perform new material?
I try to write everyday unless someone emails me with interview questions. If that happens then I waste the day answering that stuff. 🙂 I try to perform a new bit every time I get on stage. If I’m constantly changing my show then the crowd gets something new, and I don’t get bored with myself. As far as my process, usually something makes me laugh or something strange happens to me, and I go write it down and try to start shaping it into something that my audience will find funny as well.
Who are your favorite Comedians?
I have to say Tim Hawkins because he’ll probably read this. I also like John Branyan and Daren Streblow. Both of those guys are brilliant writers and performers.
What is your favorite Bible Verse?
John 3:30. “He must become greater, I must become less.” Everyone was going to get baptized by John the Baptist and his disciples. They were the popular group. However, when Jesus and His disciples showed up, everyone started to go to them. So John’s disciples came to John complaining about it. John, in a very humble way, said what became John 3:30. It’s my favorite verse because how great would our world be if everyone woke up every day and said, “Today Jesus needs to become more, and I need to become less!”?
You have also worked with a lot of bands and musicians. Can you name a few and what your role was with them?
I’ve toured with the Newsboys, Third Day, Toby Mac, Jeremy Camp, Matthew West, Tenth Avenue North, Skillet, etc. etc. You can look at my hotel shampoo collection and tell that I’ve been doing this for a long time; I’ve toured with most of the top dogs. My roll is pretty simple: make the audience laugh.
What instruments do you play?
I play the harmonica really badly. I only play it when I tour with Tim Hawkins. We do a thing called the tweet song. You can see different versions of it on YouTube but he plays the guitar and I play the harmonica while we say funny tweets we’ve written. Other than that I’m not allowed to attempt to play other instruments…especially at family reunions. I can show you the signed petition if you want.
What is on your bucket list as a performer? What have you yet to accomplish?
I’ve already done more things and gone to more places than I ever thought I would. God has really taken me down a great path, so I guess my bucket list is whatever God wants to write on it.