Robin Williams committed suicide at the age of 63.
John Crist is 34. He’s a comedian I came across over the summer. My sister was visiting and showed me some videos. I thought he was hilarious, particularly his video Check Your Heart. I’m not sure how long the making fun of Christians can go on, but I recognize and appreciate his content material, and over all, he makes me laugh.
I struggle sometimes in the way I see the world. My husband took me to one of his shows, and I had fun. I’m glad we went. But I couldn’t help but feel like we were sinning against humanity. How is celebrity culture good for a person? The man is tired, lonely, away from his home, possibly exploiting his soul, and here we sit just laughing along.
He says the humor is two-fold. On one hand, it feels good to help people. He’ll get an email from a married couple saying, “This was our first date-night in 20 years.” A mother will write on behalf of her physically disabled child and say, “He watches your videos and in them finds laughter.” Laughter helps people. Togetherness helps people.
John Crist: You are loved, and you are funny. I do believe you’re helping people.
But then there’s the other side. It feels good to be famous. Being a child in a large family, he was often overlooked. His dad was a pastor, and he remembers his dad saying that it felt good to help others, but it also felt good to be the guy everybody came to for help. Humor was a way he found to get attention. Humor is the way he deals with the pain.
I don’t want to know or face any of this. I don’t want to know his pain is my joy. I don’t want to think how this man needs sleep, not a show in ninety minutes. But here we are again, the church failing a man. Sitting in our padded seats–I don’t want to be the one to ask “Why are we doing this?” I do not want to see my inner doubt and unbelief.
So God can work all these things together for His good, fine. Social media. Smartphones. All these false ways we measure ourselves. Show me the good being done with them then. Are families better off? Do we really know our friends? That hole in your heart, the one that killed Robin Williams? Will the laughs be enough to keep John Crist alive?