Christian comic practices what she preaches — lots of laughter
November 10, 2003
BABENHAUSEN, Germany — A picture of Jesus laughing is displayed on a shelf in Carol Simpson’s living room in her quarters on Babenhausen Casern.
“To me that’s who he was,” says Simpson, who has entertained audiences across Europe with her Christian comedy. “God has just such a great sense of humor.”
Simpson’s appreciation of humor has reinvented itself throughout her 35 years. Suffering from dyslexia and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder as a child, she used humor as an escape.
“I guess part of my defense mechanism was just learning how to be a class clown or whatever,” she said. “I was always in the principal’s office, so the teacher wouldn’t call on me.”
When she began teaching defensive driving at her father’s driving school, humor came into play again. She wanted to make it interesting for herself as well as the adults who were in the class for remedial training.
“So I started putting a little humor in there, kind of playing off the class, and found out that they learn more if you get them to laugh first,” she said.
She also taught driver’s education to teens and used humor to make the nervous students feel at ease.
“… Oh boy, when you have those kids out there in the car — oooh. You need some humor or a Depends undergarment,” she joked.
While she was working as a paramedic at a boys ranch, the chaplain there was struck by her humor and thought she would be the perfect person to add some life to the Sunday night service.
Simpson knew that it would be a test to make 300 young adults who didn’t want to be there laugh during her five-minute routine.
“Sure enough, they laughed. In fact, they stole a lot of my material,” she recalled. “I started hearing my jokes all over the place.”
Simpson later met her husband, Maj. Terry L. Simpson, while doing comedy at a singles retreat.
“It took him three months to get up the courage to ask me out,” Simpson said. “But you can understand [that] if the first time he saw me was when I was up there acting like a nut.”
The two married in 1999 and shortly thereafter moved to Heidelberg. A series of health problems soon developed, which tested her faith and humor.
“Within the first six months of our marriage I had been in the [emergency room] maybe six times [and] in the hospital three times,” she said. “You have to have a sense of humor in the hospital. With [those] gowns, I mean they literally crack you up.”
Following surgery and treatment, her various ailments improved. And after her husband was transferred and they moved to Babenhausen about a year ago, she felt well enough to begin using her humor to make groups all over Europe laugh.
Simpson has mainly performed at church activities such as Protestant Women of the Chapel events, youth group meetings, couples banquets and Vacation Bible School.
“I believe there’s humor in every sect, every religion,” Simpson said. “Being a Christian comedian, a lot of people think that’s an oxymoron.”
It is easy to make people laugh by telling funny anecdotes that do not offend people or include vulgarities, she said.
“A lot of it is just good, clean, everyday humor,” she said. “It’s the kind of humor you could take your great-grandma to and she wouldn’t be offended.”
While children are her favorite topic, she also uses personal experiences in her jokes.
“[Such as] how mom and dad always sat in the back of the church because it was always quicker to take me out, and [why] I’m the only person to be expelled from Sunday school,” she said.
In May, Simpson went on a 10-day tour to U.S. air bases in England and has a full schedule of appearances before she and her husband move in December.
This week she is performing at the Protestant Women of the Church’s annual Worship and Study in Willingen, Monday through Friday, followed by an appearance as guest speaker at Giessen’s PWOC lunch on Nov. 22.