Chonda Pierce

Chonda Pierce, been entertaining audiences from coast to coast for more than a decade. An in-demand stand up comic, television hostess and author, Pierce has parlayed her gift for storytelling into a multi-faceted career.     Pierce has authored eight books with most recent being, Laughing In the Dark (Simon&Schuster/Howard) and has ranked among Pollstar's top-selling live performers. Her tenth comedy DVD, "I’m Kind of a Big Deal," released September, 2011 highlights her USO tour to Afghanistan.  Pierce's DVDs are consistently strong sellers both on tour and in retail with EIGHT titles having been certified RAIA gold and FOUR titles certified RAIA platinum. She's a frequent guest on the famed Grand Ole Opry and has served as host of the Inspirational Country Music Awards and Christian Music Hall of Fame Awards as well as co-hosting the GMA Dove awards in 2012. She received FIVE Daytime Emmy nominations for her work co-hosting "Aspiring Women," a talk show on the Total Living Network and her first television special, "This Ain't Prettyville!" appeared on CMT (Country Music Television) nationwide. She has appeared on Life Today, The Wanda Sykes Show, The Mike Huckabee Show, as well as ABC’s popular talk show, the View.  She appeared in THREE movies airing on major networks this year.  Her comedy is regularly featured on XM and Sirius satellite radio.     Pierce got her first break working at a theme park in Nashville where she performed as Grand Ole Opry star Minnie Pearl. “I think I slipped in the back door,” she says of her entrance in comedy. “I was a college student when I auditioned at Opryland USA and was cast in a music and dance show called Country Music USA. Trouble is, I was a terrible dancer! Southern preacher’s kids can’t dance. They tried to teach me but I had two left feet. My boss told me I had better come up with another talent. ” She laughs, “In order to keep my job, I memorized three pages of jokes from Grinders Switch, TN and I impersonated Minnie Pearl for six years. I fell in love with this craft. I still love singing and I still try dancing—but comedy is my first love.”     When Pierce decided to pursue comedy full tilt, she recorded “Second Row, Piano Side,” a collection that drew heavily on her roots as a preacher’s kid in South Carolina. Growing up in a Southern church provided Pierce with an arsenal of material that both church goers, and those who had never sat in a pew, found hilarious.     “I come straight from the world of wooden pews and hell fire preaching. Some of it probably did a little damage – that’s where I get my warped sense of humor - but most of those days gave me solid roots,” she says. “You learn a lot from your past – what to weed through and throw out and what to hold onto forever.”     Review of her most recent book: Laughing in the Dark: A Comedian’s Journey through Depression     “Christian comedienne Pierce reminisces about a recent 18-month period that should have been a time to recharge from a rigorous speaking and traveling schedule. Instead of relishing this particular winter break, Pierce had a "winter breakdown." She discusses this bout with depression breezily, yet punctuated within the confines of every jest is the reality of deep despair and helplessness. Pierce's message is both poignant and telling, markedly so for a Christian who makes her living making others laugh. Pierce discusses her troubled childhood, explosive inner fears and the self-questioning that left her emotionally bereft and spiritually unfettered. She attributes her eventual slow recovery to the combined efforts of faithful friends and family, the prescription drug Zoloft, deliberate and extended bodily rest and weekly counseling. Pierce sprinkles humorous asides to leaven her tale's tragedies (struggling with emotional darkness, losing two sisters and enduring an abusive father) and quotidian misery (a recriminating self-image, overbusyness and the onset of peri-menopause). Citing "deliverance" as an offense tactic akin to donning the spiritual armor of God found in Ephesians, Pierce encourages those who struggle to "maintain, maintain, maintain," and proactively stay on the road to recovery. Pierce's loyal fan base will be all the more supportive after reading of the popular comedienne's dark night of the soul. (Feb. 13) “   Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --