Conservative Christian Comedian is an oxymoron

Matt Powell posted a new video last night — it’s a prank, just for fun. He also says This video was made for one of the channel followers who is on his death bed. Want him to be able to have a good laugh… God bless! I’m not going to link to it, but I’ll summarize. Powell drives up to some local businesses — a fast food place, a tire store, a Walmart, etc. — waves over an employee, and says that he just wanted to let them know he’s opening a competing store just down the road, and he’s not afraid of them. This gets nothing but baffled looks from his victims.

That’s it. That’s all it is, multiple times.

Somebody explain it to me. It must be some kind of in-joke, but it’s feeble in conception and execution, if it is.

Also, if I’m dying, and I ask you to tell me something funny so I can laugh one more time, could you please do a better job than Powell? I think maybe you better practice your best jokes in the comments, because if you do something like this pathetic performance by Matt Powell, I’m going to be so disappointed and pissed off.


  1. hemidactylus says

    Maybe not intended but for me the humor came from laughing at this weirdo, not with him. Maybe the awkwardness of saying such a trivial thing, like isn’t competition at the heart of our society? The couple times when he threatened to compete with AT&T (retch) and a behemoth like Walmart hit a sympathetic nerve, but why not say such things to their CEOs instead of powerless frontline employees? That would be much funnier.

    I kinda empathized with the bewildered expressions of the people he drove up to and saw him as an awkward goober. His intent?

  2. Brigham Narins says

    No idea who Matt Powell is. I’ll assume he’s young-ish, 30s or less, and observe that 1) I think what young people consider funny is different from what we older types know is funny, and 2) the Tik Tok generation really wants to laugh but they don’t know how to be funny. I know how “Dad” this sounds.

    Now here’s a deathbed joke–maybe my favorite joke of all time: A guy walks into a doctor’s office with a duck on his head. The doctor says, “Can I help you?” The duck says, “Yeah, can you get this thing off my ass?”

  3. says

    It’s a “prank.” Just for “fun.”
    Yeah. It’s “funny.”
    And Christian rock is “cool.”
    God “exists.”
    I could do this all day.

  4. robro says

    I found the video and watched about 10 seconds. Perhaps the joke for Powell’s dying “friend” is to see just how stupid Matt can be. Perhaps it’s an inside joke for the two of them. It’s just awkward to me.

  5. woozy says

    The rhythmic punch line “I’m not afraid of you” is too deliberate and straightly delivered that I figure it must an in-joke or an talking point for him that is so important to them that they have no idea that anyone else has no idea what they are talking about.

    Some of the gushing comments talk of how hilarious this is and how totally pranked the victims were that they couldn’t come up with a response even given time, which implies they seem to think this … activity… has some meaning. Two gushing comments said they didn’t understand and Powell’s response was “I was just doing a prank… saying I’m giving them competition and seeing their reactions” as though that was self-evident.

    I suspect they are assuming the vast other of liberal/evolutionist/socialist/neo-marxists have completely isolated themselves to the concept of free-market competition that they will find the idea of free market and competition to be surprising and odd and that “I’m not afraid of you” is … well, I’m not sure, Does he think that’s what atheist-neo-marxists say to conservatives? It’s it a rallying cry of his church against the world? Is it a religious sentiment and the joke is using it in a capitalist setting? I’m not sure but I’m sure it means something to him.

    The video is weird to watch in that is surreally meaningless.

  6. Knabb says

    @Brigham Narins, 4
    This absolutely isn’t an age thing – speaking as someone under 30, that joke still doesn’t land because I don’t have the set of assumptions needed for it to even be coherent (starting with the assumption that a front line employee is fanatically loyal to their employer and sees additional competition as a bad thing which harms an organization they’re loyal to, the assumption that making a fake threat and filming reactions is funny at the best of times, and the assumption that any of these reactions are based on anyone taking some rando walking in claiming they’re setting up a competing shop as someone setting up a competing shop and not some crank making irrelevant noises). All of these assumptions are standard conservative orthodoxy, all are remarkably detached from reality (but I repeat myself), and more than a few track well with economic assumptions that make a whole lot more sense decades ago and are disproportionately likely to be held by either the long retired, the idle rich who listen to the long retired, or the self employed rich who’ve never interacted with the modern job market as it exists for most people in it. The careful observer may note a shortage of the under 30 crowd here, and some core Republican demography.

    Now, the part where I find your favorite joke tired instead of funny, that’s a generational thing.

  7. snarkrates says

    I feel the same way about “Christian Humor” as I do about “Christian Rock”. I’d reach through flames to turn the dial to get away from it.

  8. mikeschmitz says

    Would it have been funnier if he brought a typewriter with him?

    …or maybe more cowbell?

  9. PaulBC says

    Most Christian “humor” is corny and definitely not funny. It’s an attempt to sound affable in order to soften the dogmatic message that follows.

    In this case I’m a little puzzled what the joke is supposed to be. It’s like he’s modeled it off the format of a prank (think Sacha Baron Cohen or even Candid Camera) but has filled it with such weak content that there’s nothing there. If there’s any thought behind it (except just trying and failing to be funny) the problem may be that he wants to have it both ways: do a practical joke, but eliminate the risk of conflict.

    Personally, I think “I want you to have a good laugh… on your death bed!” is the funniest thing he said.

  10. Brigham Narins says

    @Knabb, 9
    I agree with everything you say about that guy’s “prank,” why it isn’t funny and what it’s underlying assumptions are. And I’m glad–and I know–it’s not strictly age related. My point was merely that, based on much of what I’ve been shown of Tik Tok, there is a cohort of young people (and, as far as I know, no old people) who find that kind of thing funny. I don’t understand why they do.
    And I admit that my favorite joke is old and tired (it’s older and more tired than I am, I’m not quite 60 yet). But that’s part of the reason I find it funny. It’s from a different era.

  11. Trickster Goddess says

    Maybe it would be funnier if he tried the shtick on a neighbourhood drug dealer?

  12. PaulBC says

    Knabb@9 Your analysis makes sense, though I managed to stop myself from giving it nearly that much thought.

    starting with the assumption that a front line employee is fanatically loyal to their employer

    True. In fact, if the employee believed him (doubtful), a natural question would be “How much are you paying?” The proprietor may care about competition, but the employees have every reason to walk at a better offer. (And that, by the way, is how a free market functions, so I have no idea how all our fine Christian anti-communists out there think it does.) (Oh yes, I know. The “free” part applies to owners, not workers.)

  13. hemidactylus says

    I’ll probably get blasted for this but to the extent POD and Creed could be considered “Christian” I still liked their music. With Creed it’s more a Florida sound thing. Yeah the singer became a hot mess.

    Though the attempt at humor on that only video I have seen of him fell flat Powell at least wasn’t as cringy there as Sacha Baron Cohen can be. But Baron Cohen is far more skilled at pushing buttons for third party effect.

    And taking the Christian out of it PJ O’Rourke and Drew Carey have had success at right-leaning humor, for better or worse. Surely people could point to bad stuff either has done. Drew Carey jumps off the page as a stock Young Republican cartoon character, though his Marine pic on the wikipedia page looks pretty fierce. I’m not super familiar with either but their names came to mind.

  14. PaulBC says

    hemidactylus@19 I never liked PJ O’Rourke, but I agree that he had a wit. That is quite unusual for conservatives.

  15. nomdeplume says

    Powell’s mentor, Hovind, is one of those people who laughs at his own “jokes”, none of which are, by any possible definition of the word “funny”, funny. So maybe this is part of the training.

    A more general point is that corporations love to proclaim the virtues of competition as a vital part of capitalism, in fact the last thing they want is competition, and as soon as any appears they do their best to force them out of business or take them over. and where there is nominal competition between two corporations too big to remove, the competition is removed by matching pricing, product range, store position and so on. I mean Powell could be a secret socialist pointing put the failures of capitalism… nah, he couldn’t.

  16. DLC says

    Perhaps it is my having seen some videos in which young master Powell is refuted and otherwise undone that I think I have some small insight. I think it’s possible that Young Powell is aping those whom he sees as being fools, challenging established religion by telling clergy that they are in competition with them and they are not afraid of the Charlatans.
    Or maybe Matt has simply spent one too many cold nights consulting with Dr Peel in his back yard.
    Just a thought.

  17. fentex says

    This won a competition for the world’s funniest joke once….

    Two hunters are out in the woods when one of them collapses. He doesn’t seem to be breathing and his eyes are glazed. The other guy whips out his phone and calls the emergency services. He gasps, “My friend is dead! What can I do?” The operator says, “Calm down. I can help. First, let’s make sure he’s dead.” There is a silence; then a gun shot is heard. Back on the phone, the guy says, “OK, now what?”

  18. tuatara says

    The best joke for Messrs Powell and Co is that neither their god nor their heaven exist.

    Although simply impossible to do so, seeing their look of confused disappointment at that revelation would make me smile.

  19. says

    Honestly? Consider how many YouTube “pranks” are straight up about being abusive assholes, I’m fine with this. Yes, it’s not funny, but it’s harmless.

  20. Earthly Skeptic says

    To our-prank Matt Powell, someone in the Washington DC area could go to the Air and Space Museums and tell a bunch of perplexed visitors they came to see the “air in space”. Remember when Matt thought that “air in space” was different from “the air in our area”?