When God gave Moses the Ten Commandments, he did not include one that instructed people they must laugh. He knew we already had a sense of humor, so there was no need to command us to laugh. What passes as funny these days however, on the Big Screen or at home, increasingly has become more risqué. It is tough to find a program or a DVD that an entire family can laugh together at without the double entendres or references to body parts or the body politic. The stars of Thou Shalt Laugh 4 DVD, just released this week, has again demonstrated that a group of talented Christians can provide comic relief for those of us wanting to laugh together as a family.
One of the stars of the DVD is Taylor Mason, who has spent the last 25 years making people laugh on stage, on film, and on TV. As one of the world’s best ventriloquists, he can leave you mystified as to whether you are talking to Taylor or one of the endless number of puppets that he brings to life with his voice.
Now in its third year and 4th DVD edition, Thou Shalt Laugh may be old-fashioned comedy to some, but with over a half-million in sales, you can’t argue with its successful formula, as succinctly expressed by Taylor Mason: “We don’t go in the bathroom, we don’t go in the bedroom and our show isn’t about constantly berating someone we don’t agree with.”
Taylor is most inspired when he gets an opportunity to take his “friends” with him and go unannounced to a children’s hospital. Taylor said there are many hospitals where there are kids in need of some cheering up. He doesn’t make an appointment or seek any media attention; he just wants to make some kids happy.
One day before a show in Chicago, he walked into a children’s hospital with his famous pig puppet, “Paco.” It’s a simple, small, pink puppet, that looks like a pig, but has an attitude, like most of Mason’s puppets. “So I’m making the pig talk to this little boy,” said Taylor. The young boy was in a terminal cancer ward, with his head shaved. “The little boy starts having a conversation with the pig. He knew Paco was a puppet. He was a very sweet kid, but he was 7 or 8 years old and just kept talking back forth with the pig.”
Suddenly nurses started coming into the boy’s room and gathered around the little boy’s bed. Taylor’s pig puppet and the little dying boy kept up their funny conversation. Taylor wasn’t sure why so many nurses were in the room watching until one of them leaned over to him and whispered, “He hasn’t spoken in nearly a year… please keep the pig talking.”
The nurses then began to feed the pig questions to ask the little boy because he had not spoken to anyone in such a long time. “I never planned for that to happen. Ventriloquism is a weird art and somehow it helped for that little boy to come out of his shell and tell the nurses, through the pig, how he felt, after nearly a year of being in the hospital.”
Taylor also contributes a column and a joke file each week for New Christian Voices and dreams up new ideas for his act which takes him all over the country and around the world.
Paco the Pig is the source of another funny story, featured on the new DVD, Thou Shalt Laugh, this one involving a grown-up who purchased one of the pigs following one of Taylor Mason’s live shows.
“Yeah I had pig puppets that I used to sell after the show. I was in New York City, working in a comedy club and a guy comes up after the show and buys a pig. It’s an investment; it’s $25, so it’s not a cheap thing.”
Thirty minutes later the man who bought the little pig came back and according to Mason he was livid, “He is angry and tells me, ‘It doesn’t work, you sold me a mute. This one does not work.’”
The world class ventriloquist realized the man was not joking, “And so I had to explain to the guy, after he just saw my show, that there was no like MP-3 download, that I made the pig talk… and remember, America this is a voter who bought my pig!”
Funny. Very funny. So if you are looking for that perfect DVD that you can pop into your family’s player so the whole family can watch and see a cadre of Christian comics from ventriloquists to standup comics to talented musicians with a flair for humor, look no further than Thou Shalt Laugh 4 which is on store shelves and available at the usual online locations starting in early November. (By the way, the first 3 DVDs are great to own or rent as well.) Or visit the official website at http://www.ThouShaltLaugh.com.