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Published: Thursday, 4/13/2006

Comedian bases laughs on love

Mark Lowry will be in concert at 2 p.m. April 20 in the Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd. Opening are LordSong and Stan Whitmire. Tickets are $25 and $39 from the box office, 419-381-8851.
Mark Lowry will be in concert at 2 p.m. April 20 in the Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd. Opening are LordSong and Stan Whitmire. Tickets are $25 and $39 from the box office, 419-381-8851.
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Every night is the same, and every night is different.

Come again, Mark Lowry?

The Christian funny man, who will be in concert at the Stranahan Theater April 20, was saying that he tells the same jokes whether he's in a church or secular setting.

So, on any given concert tour, Lowry audiences will get the same basic routine, wherever and whenever he's on stage.

At the same time, Lowry likes to keep things loose and adjust his shows according to the audience's response.

In other words, no two shows are ever the same.

And when Lowry is performing in a church, he doesn't care what denomination it may be.

"That is totally irrelevant," he said in a recent interview. "I usually don't even know what church I'm at. The promoter will rent a church because it's usually cheaper than theaters. And if we can find a big church and can keep the expenses down, we can charge less for tickets."

Lowry, who hurt his knee in a motorcycle accident last month and needs to use crutches or a wheelchair, can make people laugh with a simple twist of his rubbery grin and big eyes.

Born in Texas in 1958, he grew up in a devout Baptist family. He is able to get church people laughing about themselves because his humor is not mean or spiteful, but told with love.

"I know where the line is. I don't make fun of the cross or Christ or the things that are good. Why would you? To me, that's what's given me life."

On the other hand, there are some religious topics that seem to beg for his comedic barbs.

"Look at TV evangelists!" Lowry said. "They remind me of that bumper sticker that says, 'Jesus, save me from your followers.'

"We're a crazy, messed-up lot and I'm right up there in the middle of it. And yet I love it. I love the church, I love the people. I love what God is doing with all of us. With some of us, it takes a long time. It comes down to this: love God and love people. That's it."

Lowry is also an accomplished singer and has been singing baritone with Bill Gaither's Gaither Vocal Band since 1988. He also stars in the phenomenally popular Gaither Homecoming shows, adding his unique sense of humor to the popular TV programs and concert tours.

He has released two Platinum-selling CDs and two Gold Record discs, and wrote the modern Christmas classic, "Mary, Did You Know?," which has been recorded by such stars as Donnie Osmond, Kathy Mattea, Natalie Cole, and Clay Aiken.

He said he calls his current comedy show the "God Is Crazy About You Tour" because he hopes to make people feel comfortable with God.

"People need to understand that God is good and he's not angry with us," Lowry said. "My whole goal in my comedy is to introduce people to God and let them know that God is crazy about them - crazy enough to die for them."

Mark Lowry will be in concert at 2 p.m. April 20 in the Stranahan Theater, 4645 Heatherdowns Blvd. Opening are LordSong and Stan Whitmire. Tickets are $25 and $39 from the box office, 419-381-8851.



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