He has been funny enough for “The Bob and Tom Show” and clean enough for the nation’s churches.
Mirthful musician Tim Hawkins, who spoofs everything from classic rock to classic faith, brings a mix of standup and songs to two shows March 6 at The Ridge church in Columbus. Only about 200 of 1,500 total tickets remain, and one show is sold out.
He sings of the joy of yoga pants, turns a colonoscopy into a spirited folk jig, and aims his guitar at nearly any topic you could imagine, from the stupidity of nursery rhymes to the alleged smartness of getting up to check on sounds at night.
And though his YouTube videos have been seen 300 million times and he sells out 110 shows a year, forget thinking he courts fame.
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“Why would anyone want to be famous?” he has said at shows. “I have enough trouble dealing with people I know.”
Ron Bridgewater, pastor of East Columbus Christian Church and a well-known local gospel singer, just performed Hawkins’ “Things You Don’t Say to Your Wife” at the church’s Valentine banquet. The minister also said he enjoys Hawkins’ spoof of Carrie Underwood’s “Jesus, Take the Wheel” with “Cletus, Take the Reel.”
“He’s either very, very clever or insane,” said Bridgewater, who can’t make the concert because he is slated to preach at his own church’s Sunday evening service that day.
But Bridgewater has seen Hawkins live five other times, once escorting a group from his church, and owns every Hawkins DVD. Amid the laughter, he said listeners and viewers will notice one amazing element of the performer polished enough to be sponsored by McPherson Guitars.
“I think many people don’t understand what a gifted musician he is,” Bridgewater said. “He is funny, but also a wickedly talented guitar player.”
James Young, worship leader at The Ridge, can appreciate such. But Young also mentioned that even his youngest son at age 5 appreciates Hawkins’ humor — or at least the artist’s stage antics.
“My son doesn’t understand all the funny things about what it means to wear yoga pants, but when Tim sings that song, he uses a lot of body language, and my son thinks it’s hilarious,” Young said.
The local worship musician once sang Hawkins’ restaurant love tune, “Chick-fil-A,” set to the tune of Paul McCartney’s “Yesterday,” at a Ridge youth group gathering.
“In our world, we’re trying to reach out to people, some of whom have little or no church experience,” Young said. “We want people to be able to say, ‘Man, I didn’t know you could have such fun at church.”
And with Hawkins, concertgoers need not understand churchy references to laugh, since much of the comic’s material reflects mainstream music and life.
For example, one popular segment of Hawkins’ shows includes the suggestions that senior-aged rock stars change some of their better-known songs to reflect their current life.
He says the Village People’s “Y.M.C.A.” should become “AARP.” He delves into a bluesy Eric Clapton voice, altering “Cocaine” to “Rogaine.” He convincingly mimics Neil Diamond, composer of the pop tune, “Hello Again,” crooning “Jello Again.”
And he also takes a turn at changing up the lyrics of such legends as the Eagles and The Who, too — and draws substantial laughter in more than one video clip of such parodies.
His take on Kansas’ classic “Dust in the Wind” might be his funniest, juvenile piece, turning the tune into a who-done-it of a different wind.
Tim Dooley, a guitarist and worship musician at The Crossing in Columbus, remembers after a friend familiarized him with Hawkins that his small group spent an evening watching Hawkins’ videos “and laughing our heads off.” His favorite: the singer’s take on “101 Christian cuss words.”
Dooley, like Bridgewater, notes Hawkins’ talent as a guitarist, comparing his skills to other comics such as Heywood Banks.
“He definitely can play his instrument,” Dooley said.
Who: Comic singer Tim Hawkins performing two separate concerts.
When: 4 and 7 p.m. March 6. The 7 p.m. show is sold out.
Where: The Ridge church, 2800 Bonnell Road, Columbus.
Tickets: $25 and $45, available at theridge.org.
Information: 812-376-8455 or theridge.org.