Clean Comedy Does Exist! – Comedian Rik Roberts
Humorist, Mentor, Christian, Friend, and Impersonator—these are a few words to describe the genius of Christian Comedian Rik Roberts. There has never been a better collection of intellectual genius than when Rik Roberts entertains. His stage presence, delivery, and comfort level are skills he uses to quickly develop a relationship with his audience. I have never seen him give a dull performance.
It takes a great deal of talent to deliver an hour plus worth of clean comedic jokes and keep an audience captivated and laughing so hard that their faces and sides hurt the following day. And did I mention the man does an impersonation of Barney Fife? Not only is he the spitting image of Don Knotts’ most beloved character, but he also sounds exactly like him.
Go to Rik’s website! Get to know him! See him perform! I caught up with him on the road, literally driving, and he was kind enough to give me an interview. Here is what we discussed:
How did you get into comedy?
“I went to an open mic night in Columbus, Ohio, and thought it was for guitar players. I took my guitar and was the first on stage for the night. I did a couple songs to complete silence, so I finished with a kind of goofy song to just a couple laughs. As I was walking off stage the MC asked if I knew it was a comedy contest, which I did not. I just about passed out from embarrassment. I thought I was going to throw up.
“The MC asked me to stick around because I got a sandwich for going up on stage. So I watched the other comedians who knew they were attending a comedy contest. I had a great time and got to meet some great people—people who encouraged me to continue. Here I am twenty-one years later working full time as a comedian.”
How does God reflect in your stand-up set?
“I’m more of a clean comedian than a Christian comedian. I don’t dig into biblical topics, but God shines through. I let the audience know I go to church and that I am a Christian. I invite my audience to talk with me after the show so I can be an open door to God. But in my set, I’m just working to let my Christianity shine though as I present clean humor. Not just talk the talk, but walk the walk!”
How challenging is it to perform a totally clean stand up set, stay funny, and keep the audience’s attention?
“It can be a little tricky depending on where you’re performing or who you’re between. It’s very challenging if you’re sandwiched between two filthy comedians; otherwise, it’s no challenge to be clean and funny. I’ve learned over the years to just focus on what I need to do and on my goals. Some of my material may not get as big a laugh from some people drinking in a bar, but I’m not really writing material geared for them.”
What advice would you give to a person who is interested in pursuing stand-up comedy?
“Realize it’s going to take seven to ten years before you can generate enough income to replace your existing income. The earlier your start the easier it is, but you’ll lack life experiences, which is a bit of a tradeoff. Save up money and begin your career ‘out of debt.’ I recommend at least a year’s expenses in the bank and a reliable car.
“Write material every single day or at least most days. And you’ll need to learn how to work through your daily problems to become a great comic. Most people at a new job don’t get a comfort level until several months in. That’s working forty hours a week. At stand-up you only get three to five minutes at a time. So it could take five to six years to get an equivalent comfort level. Additionally, you need to surround yourself with people who understand you need to focus 100% on your comedy, because everyone you are competing against is 100% focused!”
Who influences you the most?
“I don’t think anyone really influences me from a comedy perspective. When you come to see my show, you see me.”
Who are your favorite comedians?
“As far as comedians I like… I love Brian Regan—not just a typical answer from a clean comedian, I really do think he’s hilarious. I also really like Clayborn Cox from Auburn, Alabama, and Jonnie W. from Mount Juliet, Tennessee.”
You do a great impersonation of Barney Fife, how did you start doing that?
“Early in my career I worked with an improv group. In one of their sketches you had to be a celebrity, so I pulled together Barney Fife. I spun that off into a motivational speech. I’ll do appearances as Barney for corporate events where I’ll enter and arrest people. Anywhere you can put Barney Fife, I’ve been there. It’s a fun thing. I have a website FifeIsMyLife.com.”
What is your goal for your comedy?
“Get better, stay clean, honor God, and provide for my family.”
What is on your Bucket List to accomplish?
“I’ve exceeded my expectations at this point in my life. I want to continue my ‘School of Laughs,’ where I teach young and upcoming comedians how to approach the writing techniques of comedy and encourage them to stay clean. I want that to become a full on-line course and make it grow!”