Brother Sam Singleton’s revival is the only service you should ever go to, and
the only one I never miss.
This was the second show I've seen by Brother Sam, and absolutely the best
yet. Turns out, the tent-revival format is perfect for religious criticism --
Brother Sam blends some very pointed arguments with some spicy theatrical
salsa, top-notch writing, and fiber-rich, participatory beans, then wraps the
whole thing in a tortilla of humor to make one damn good, wickedly funny
burrito. It tastes good, it's one hell of a good time, and you get some
intellectual nourishment without hurting your brain or trying too hard. "Revival"
is a great way to start an evening, but you're gonna need whiskey for dessert,
so make time for it.
The only honest evangelist
Fundies'll shit their britches, but godless folk will laugh their asses off.
If you have not seen Brother Sam Singleton, Atheist Evangelist, you are
missing one of the great joys of life. Hilarious and chilling, erudite and crass,
quoting Voltaire with a vivid Ozarks accent, Brother Sam's performance
kidnaps the style of a Pentecostal revival meeting and uses it to deliver a
sharp, compelling, take-no- prisoners atheist rant that makes Christopher
Hitchens look like a vanilla cupcake. Truly the best of both worlds: if you think
embracing atheism means losing the wild, soaring, inspired artistry of religion,
his show is a must-see. I was cranky and groggy about being up at 9am on a
Sunday with very little sleep (isn't that supposed to be one of the benefits of
atheism -- that we get to sleep in on Sundays?)... and Brother Sam woke me
the fuck up. See him if you possibly can. Make it a priority.
I believe people of faith, like me, must continually examine their personal faith--
otherwise it's blind and unthinking. Sam challenges me to critically explore my
belief, which is a crucial and worthwhile exercise. Plus, the show is funny.
The thing about the show that was really brilliant was that it was the perfect
mixture of hard hitting religious criticism, light hearted humor, satire, and
Who is this Brother Sam, you ask? Well, you can learn a good deal from www.
samsingleton.com but suffice to say he has the stage presence of William
Jennings Bryan, the intellectual honesty of Robert Green Ingersoll, the wit of
George Carlin, the gripes of a pensioner, the salt of a sailor, and the energy of
a teenager. What more can I say to convince you all? He brought down the
house at Rapture Day WSU, just last weekend, and I'm already stoked about
going back for more.
Damion Torres Reinhardt
In my twisted atheist mind, I've always been sure that I would enjoy
participating in a good old-fashioned religious revival. I've longed for the
experience, but fear of being found out had kept those longings from
becoming a reality. Enter Brother Sam. With a tambourine in his hand and the
confidence of the righteous, Brother Sam addressed the congregation in
Toledo and I knew "my prayers" would be answered.
Anyone listening in at the door, would have figured it for an old-fashioned
revival, for a moment anyway, when Brother Sam had us greet fellow
congregants seated near us. Soon however, "Amen" became "God damn!"
and "speaking in tongues" elicited giggles. The song sung by the congregation
wasn't "Dying with Jesus" but a catchy hedonistic tune about rye whiskey.
The collection plate wasn't filled with coins and dollars, but with beer bottle
caps and condoms. And the message wasn't about being right with the lord,
but being right with ourselves as atheists. And at the end of the night, I knew
that this was the revival I had longed for all these years. God damn!
Someone asked if there were any good satirical preachers. I immediately
thought of Brother Sam Singleton. Brother Sam is the creation of Roger Scott
Jackson. The character is larger than life and expresses atheist sentiment
with the fiery cadence of a Pentecostal revivalist. His creator on the other
hand is quite soft-spoken and sweet.
As someone who deals primarily in humor, I have to express a great deal of
admiration for Brother Sam. The meticulous effort placed into the construction
of the jokes, the pacing, the costume, and the timing of the emotional hooks
are all in the highest caliber. I can write jokes very easily, but performing them
requires much more skill than I think most people appreciate.
The only person that I can truly compare Brother Sam to without diminishing
him in the process is Mark Twain. The powerful criticisms and witticisms in
Patiarchs and Penies could stand toe-to-toe with the most blasphemous
passages in Twain’s Letters from the Earth.
Don’t ever pass up an opportunity to see Brother Sam perform live, but in the
meantime you can buy copies of his shows to watch at home whenever you
feel like raising Hell. Goddamn.