News
Renfroe to bring comedy show to Honeywell Center

By Joseph Slacian
jslacian@thepaperofwabash.com

Anita Renfroe was familiar with the world of comedy. However, it was a suggestion by her three children to post a video clip to YouTube that helped many in the world of comedy get to know her.


The video, called “The Mom Song,” features Renfroe recapping her daylong conversations with her three kids in a little more than two minutes, all set to the tune of “The William Tell Overture.”


Renfroe will bring her comedy routine to the Honeywell Center’s Ford Theater at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, March 14.


“(‘The Mom Song’) kicked me off into general consciousness,” she told The Paper of Wabash County during a recent telephone interview. “I was already touring with Women of Faith, which is an arena tour where we played like big basketball arenas around the country. I think I was better known inside the Christian market than in the market in general. I think that might be the first time the people outside the Christian touring world heard about me.”


The song first appeared on a comedy DVD she appeared on. About 10 years ago, her three kids urged her to upload the clip to YouTube.


“So I put it up and was going to leave it up over Mother’s Day weekend,” she recalled. “They were like ‘Don’t take it down. That’s how people find you.’”


And find her they did. Renfroe’s video has been viewed by more than 10 million people. But counting the number of times the video has been shared or uploaded by others, and the number of views is well above that.


“There’s no way to know how many views,” she said. “When it first came out and people started sharing it, they would take it from my DVD and they would post it. We were so stupid; we would write into YouTube that they don’t have the right to put it up there. If we would have just left it, we would have had 17 bazillion views by now. We didn’t really know how it worked back then.
“If you want to look for all the ones that we took down that had millions of views each, you might be able to find out.”
But Renfroe isn’t concerned about the number of times it’s been viewed.
“It really doesn’t matter,” she said. “I’m just glad they still watch it.”


Renfroe’s comedy is “100 percent observations from the front lines of my own life.”


“When I first started out I think I worried that as I got older the material might run out,” she said. “The older I get the funnier things get to me. When you’re younger you feel you have a lot to prove and a lot to protect. Then you get older and you don’t just give a rip anymore. You just talk about real stuff all night.”


Her routine, she believes, differs from other comics.


“I know a lot of comics are driven by angst and grief and working out issues,” Renfroe said. “I’m a generally happy person and I like to make other people laugh. I don’t know if that disqualifies me from the company of comedians who are all serious about what they do. But I like to make people laugh. I love to spread joy.


“I feel like it’s really necessary for our sanity to make some appointments to laugh because we just kind of forget in the everyday workday grind to remember that exhaling in a pure moment of joy can do more for us than exercising hours at the gym. That’s the story I’m sticking to.”


And while her comedy has a lot to do with life from the viewpoint of women, she said that shouldn’t deter men from coming to the show.


“All men want to somehow decode the female gene,” she said. “They’re like, ‘What are they thinking? What’s going on up there?’ If nothing else, you’ll be more educated into what the interior of a woman’s mind looks like, if you want to go there. If nothing more, you’ll know a lot more about females in general.


“I have guys tell me all the time it was the best show I’ve been to. I can’t change my gender, well, I guess technically these days you can, but I don’t want to. So, it is female flavor, but it’s OK, guys enjoy it too.”
Renfroe is often referred to as a “Christian comedian.” That also shouldn’t be a concern to those wanting to come to the show.


“I’m a Christian who is a comedian, just like a Christian dentist or Christian farmer,” she said. “Some people might care if you’re Christian. Most people will just care that you’re funny. If people think they’re going to come to my show and there’s going to be an offering and an alter call, it’s not like that. It’s good, clean comedy. I happen to be a Christian … so if you’re looking all grimy and political, it’s probably not the show for you.”


Her clean comedy has helped land performances with various corporations.


“They do appreciate the fact that they don’t have to wash their ears out afterward,” Renfroe said. “Once again, I think the high priority is it doesn’t matter if you’re clean or Christian, at the end of the day if you can’t make people laugh, you’re failing at what you do. To me, my standard of excellence is higher because I do it out of a love of it. I hope there are people that come away and say that’s the funniest thing in a long time. If they happen to identify with my spirituality, that’s a big fat plus. But, definitely, we have complete heathens that enjoy the show.”


Two of the highlights of her career have been appearances at the Grand Ol’ Opry in Nashville, and on The Weather Channel.
Growing up in Central Texas, Renfroe spent time with her grandparents while growing up, listening to the Grand Ol’ Opry and watching “Hee Haw.”


“In our culture, the Grand Ol’ Opry is the Pantheon,” she said. “That’s where all the greats are. That was accessibility given to me very early. When I got to stand on that stage, it was so surreal to me. I wish my grandparents would have been alive. There are few moments in my life, one was the Grand Ol’ Opry when it felt full circle to me from my childhood. Basically, in my hometown they make you mayor. I think I’m the unofficial mayor of my hometown.”


Her Weather Channel appearance is important to her, Renfroe said, because her mother is a devotee to that channel.


“She watches it like there’s a plot line,” Renfroe said of her mother. “Sometimes she calls me, I think she knows I’m on stage, but she’ll forget. Sometimes I’ll answer. She’s only going to call me to tell me, ‘There was a little rain cloud that passed over but we didn’t get any. But I watched it half the day and I can’t believe it didn’t rain.’ This is my mom reporting the weather to me during my show.


“One time I got on the Weather Channel with Jim Cantore. Honest, to the heavens, my mom thought I was the president of the United States that day because I was on the Weather Channel. In my mom’s mind, the Weather Channel might have been higher than the Opry, but in my mind (the Opry) was the ultimate.”


Tickets are $18, $25 and $50 and are available at the Honeywell Center box office, online at honeywellcenter.org or by calling 260-563-1102.
 

Posted on 2019 Mar 12