The Skit Guys ‘honored’ to be performing at 2011 Viaero Great American Comedy Festival’s show for entire family05-10-2011 09:00 am
It could be said that Tommy Woodard and Eddie James are living the dream.
They referred to their work a little more specifically — they get paid for the trouble they got into during high school.
Now, these best friends are a comedic duo that lace jokes and wit with Christian truths. They will soon make their first visit to Norfolk to perform in the 2011 Viaero Great American Comedy Festival on Sunday, June 19, at 5 p.m. at the Johnny Carson Theatre.
While their work is highly collaborative, James is most often called the “writer” and Woodard the “show boy.” Performing comedy skits together for nearly 20 years, the comedians attribute their success to hard work and too many nights spent watching “Saturday Night Live.”
As teenagers, they often tried to rework the skits from that show to be appropriate for church — an effort that rarely succeeded, they admit. In the end, they found a profitable and enjoyable future with their own spin on the comedy business as they began to merge humor and faith.
“It’s a great little niche,” James said.
Performing most often at Christian conferences and church events, the two said their work on the stage is merely an “extension of (their) friendship.”
But the Christian truths they insert in their skits is reflective of their ministry work at churches in Texas, where they’re based. They said it’s the mixture of comedy and values that make their skits unique and beneficial for audiences. Not to mention enjoyable.
“You’re going to laugh and you’re going to think,” James said. “If you stay and listen you’re not going to get preached at or hit over the head with a Bible; there will be little nuggets of truth throughout.”
As James and Woodard prepare to make their way to Norfolk they said they’re reminded of the historic value of the town, specifically the legacy of Johnny Carson.
It was a familiar name to their ears as young boys.
They said his name alone brought back nostalgic memories of watching evening television as a family or lying awake in bed listening as their parents laughed in the next room during one of Carson’s shows.
“The verbiage used to be, ‘We’ll go to bed after we watch the first monologue,’ ” James said.
And while Carson retired in 1992 from “The Tonight Show,” and died in 2005, his reputation has remained with James and Woodard.
“It’s very humbling to be considered a part of this (festival),” James said. “We hope we’ve earned the right to be here.”
With the excitement of performing in Johnny Carson’s hometown, James and Woodard said they’re also looking forward to seeing the other acts at the festival. They might even have a leg up on some of the other comedians.
“I don’t know if anyone else will bring a bald guy and a good-looking guy,” said Woodard, jokingly.
With the jokes rolling and the preparations being made in Norfolk for their arrival, James and Woodard are heeding Carson’s advice, whether they know it or not.
“Never continue in a job you don't enjoy. If you're happy in what you're doing, you'll like yourself . . .,” Carson was quoted as saying.
Between their history of friendship and faith-based skits, James and Woodard said they’re just two guys having a lot of fun.
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Want to learn more?
More information about the 2011 Viaero Great American Comedy Festival can be found at www.greatamericancomedyfestival.com, including the ability to purchase tickets online for any of the festival’s performances from Wednesday, June 15, through Sunday, June 19.
Tommy Woodard (left) and Eddie James make up “The Skit Guys.” They are scheduled to perform at this summer’s Viaero Great American Comedy Festival on Sunday, June 19, at 5 p.m. at the Johnny Carson Theatre.