I have this amazing job. I really do. Every day I live out of it in some form or fashion. My kids like to say the name of my job. I’m blown away that people want to hire us to do our job. I’m a “Skit Guy.” The only time it is odd is when I’m on a plane sitting by someone and they ask the same routine question, “So what do you do?” How do you tell a person that you’ve never met that you do “skits for God” for a living? It sounds like a bad spy movie or something! “So you sell insurance? That’s great. I’m working for His Majesty’s Secret Service….doing Skits….little ditties that have a point but also point you to the One above.” Then I hit the person sitting next to me with a script – because I can tell he doesn’t like or appreciate humor – and I jump out of the plane in my tuxedo with a parachute (all Skit Spy tuxedos come equipped with parachutes) and I’m off once again to rid the world of humorless people and defend it from bad drama. Okay, it’s not quite like that, but a guy can write a skit while in the middle of writing an article, can’t he? In fact, hold on while I write that down . . . tuxedo . . . airplane . . . parachute . . . there! Got it!
To those who are more familiar with The Skit Guys and what we do, the question we get most often is a little different: “So how did you two get started?” It’s an amazing question, and the answer is full of long roads that led us to this amazing adventure. In fact, not just long roads, but insurmountable barriers and road blocks that paved the way for us to do comedy in churches and conferences and travel all around the world . . . but the short answer is: we just started doing it because we liked doing skits.
Back when we were a couple of goofy kids in Wayne Slay’s youth group, he was crazy enough to get us involved in the Wednesday night program he so eloquently called “Wednesday Night Live” (since all good program names had some ties to the outside world of entertainment.) A night of games, music, speaking and SKITS! Holy Cow! Our youth minister is actually allowing two schlubs who don’t know the Bible at all to get up on stage and give a feeling to his fact? Are you kidding me? I get to act like a dork and try to impress the girl that I brought to church AT THE SAME TIME! Sign me up! I am there – with hair. (Since I’m currently bald, I feel I must state the fact every chance I get that I used to have a full head of “Tony Danza” brown, feathered- “who’s the boss” hair. Trust me. There are pictures.)
We developed a little routine: Tom and I would meet with Wayne every Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. in a little room off to the side of the main event, scarfing our Sonic burgers and listening to the pearls that Wayne would give us so we could spend the next two hours coming up with a skit. (It was usually around 4:50 that Wayne figured out what he was speaking on for that night. In my opinion, the “Billy Graham Handbook” has saved many youth ministers from total destruction when it came to sermons.)
After giving us some direction, Wayne would leave and there we would sit. And sit and sit. We’d talk about Growing Pains and Moonlighting, who was better- Robin Williams or Billy Crystal and whether or not Gary Hart was a good guy or just misunderstood. By around 6:30 we knew we had to get serious and put our thinking caps on. We had a skit to do. There were peers out there counting on us! There was laughter to be induced. Dreams to be fulfilled. Oscar speeches to write…
We would finally settle on a Saturday Night Live skit (thank the Lord for the name of the program we were in – no Deacon could get mad at us now) that we had just seen 5 nights prior and we’d whip up the characters, run to the Salvation Army if we needed props (all the while going over our lines in Tommy’s red chevette- a.k.a.- “The Babe Mobile”) and hit the stage around 7:30 p.m. We’d take about 20 minutes instead of the 10 we were allotted, and then poor Wayne would spend most of his speaking time trying to straighten up the mess we had made of the Bible. “Okay…now listen…I know Tommy and Eddie said that Moses was in the Ark…but it didn’t happen quite that way. What? No, there were no “raiders” in this ark…can I please just get to my sermon?”
But if it wasn’t for that practice – for that mad dunk into the deep end of the comedy pool – I don’t know if I would have quite figured out that I love what I get to do for a living. I’m thankful that a man – for whatever reasons – looked at Tommy and me and said, “Use your gifts. Go.” He may have wanted me to “go” use them at a different church, but I didn’t quite pick up on that part.
So the answer to the origin of Skit Guys, Inc. is that it was nothing we set out to do for a living. It just happened – step by step. Along that road we spent time as youth ministers too and now, hopefully, we are giving back in the same way we were blessed. So in light of “how it all began,” Tom and I want to give you this script- on the house. FREE! It was written as Tom and I started getting invited to more and more churches around Oklahoma. People were actually paying us – with gas money and chicken dinners – so we had to start writing our own stuff and wean ourselves off of “Church Lady” and “Hanz and Franz.” It’s a favorite of ours called “The Football Skit.” Take it, change it, make it fit your group. If you need tips on moving the script from the page to the stage, you can go to SkitGuys.com and click on our Podcast button.
If you ever need anything from us, we are here to help.
Eddie James (the bald Skit Guy)