BOB NELSON IS STILL MAKING PEOPLE LAUGH
He Says Comedy Is the Best Medicine
By Ginny McCabe
Special to ASSIST News Service
NASHVILLE, TN (ANS) -- Comedian Bob Nelson ministers to people by making them laugh. He shares his comedy in comedy clubs, theaters and casinos around the country. Churches have also recently opened up their doors and invited him to come and minister.
As far back as he can remember, Nelson was always trying to make people laugh. From the time when he was a little boy, up until today, as a well-known comedian, his true gift is to make people smile. (Pictured: Bob Nelson in action).
Nelson admits that it hasn’t always been an easy road. “I grew up in a household that was not a happy place. There were a host of problems and situations that caused a lot of pain and confusion for everyone. My family was not the kind of family that would hug each other, share feelings, and pray together or anything like that. If anything, we were the total opposite…” said Nelson.
The way he dealt with those challenges, was to try and escape. Physically, he would stay out of the house, and emotionally, he suppressed his true feelings. “I’d create a fantasy world with my imagination,” said Nelson. “I would watch Red Skelton, Jerry Lewis, Abbot & Costello, Jonathan Winters and Walt Disney movies.”
He began his professional career in comedy in the late 1970’s and was doing very well at it. From Merv Griffin to Johnny Carson, from Las Vegas to Carnegie Hall, from HBO specials to Feature Films, he had a lot of opportunities and worked with some of the biggest names in comedy, including opening for Rodney Dangerfield. (Pictured: Bob Nelson plays a footballer character).
“I had a nice house and fancy cars. I had money and clothes. I was blessed with a perfect little boy. And to top it all off, I had a beautiful wife. I thought everything was perfect, but really my life was out of control,” said Nelson. “But that was before God changed my heart. Now, I wouldn’t trade the true peace I have for anything.” (Pictured: Bob Nelson with Chris Rock outside the Laugh Factory in New York City).
Nelson’s wife had a strong influence on his decision to accept Christ. “There came a point in my life when I understood that I was not in control anymore. I thought that if I could not control my wife, who I lived with 24 hours a day, then I was not control of anything around me, including myself,” remembered Nelson. “I began to panic and being at my wits end, I had asked the Lord to come into my life. The changes in my character have come slowly, yet surely. I now know that if I keep my eyes on the Son of God, my shadowy past will remain behind me.”
Today, Nelson’s faith motivates him to put on a good show, but he also had some very influential mentors, including Dangerfield and Red Skelton who gave him some good advice early on.
“I do some stand-up comedy and some observation, but it’s all very clean. It wasn’t always clean. When I first started I wasn’t clean. It wasn’t until I met Red Skelton that I realized that what I do is comedy and comedy is supposed to be clean. Red told me that I wasn’t a stand-up, but that I was a clown, just like him.”
He had the chance to meet and spend time with Skelton three times before he passed away, but each of those experiences were very meaningful.
I was blown away by some of the things he told me and he really made me think. He was actually passing me the torch back then and I didn’t even know it,” said Nelson.
On one occasion that Nelson remembers vividly, Skelton told him not to curse in any of his comedy routines.
Nelson asked him, “Why can’t I curse?” Skelton responded by saying, “It says in the Bible that laughter does good like a medicine, and when you curse in your comedy, it’s like poisoning the medicine and you are taking away the full effect,”
He was also friends with Dangerfield, and even though Dangerfield wasn’t a believer, he still was very influential on Nelson’s career.
“He (Dangerfield) was like a ‘godfather’ to me, but he had a different type of an influence than Red did. He was cut from a different cloth than I was but we developed a mutual respect for each other and appreciated each other’s individual talents,” Nelson said. (Pictured: Bob Nelson is featured on Bananas DVD).
At the end of the day, Nelson hopes to bring joy to families and people of all ages, who enjoy good, clean comedy. “I realize it now, but it has taken me many years to realize that what I have is a gift of God and I need to share it with people so that they can grasp hold of the real joy that is found in God.”
Look for Nelson's latest DVD, "Bananas," hosted by Thor Ramsey, where Bob's a hit with audiences of all ages. The DVD is filled with both his classic bits and some great new ones, and Nelson's cast of characters will keep you laughing. Expect good, clean fun for the entire family. For more information, visit www.bananascomedy.com, or www.bobnelson.com.
Ginny McCabe is a Cincinnati, OH native. She is an entertainment and feature writer for The Middletown Journal and Journal News (dailies), and magazines including American Songwriter, Bassics, NRB Magazine, CBA Marketplace, Christian Retailing, HM Magazine, Relevant Magazine, BGEA, Lifeway.com, and Crosswalk.com, among others. Ginny has authored Audio Adrenaline's book, Some Kind of Journey on the Road with Audio Adrenaline and Living the Gold-Medal Life: Inspirations from Female Athletes. She most recently co-authored her third book, Changed: True Stories of Finding God Through Christian Music, which will be released in April, 2005. With over 10 years of marketing and public relations experience, Ginny also works as an independent publicist at McCabe Media. To contact Ginny, email her at Gmwriteon@aol.com. (Pictured: Ginny McCabe)
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