Jaron Myers
Jaron Myers

September 2, 2016

You can’t have fun in church.

Carroll’s Central Church works to dispel that myth most Sundays, but it did so in a different way a few weeks ago when comedian Jaron Myers came to the church to speak.

The 22-year-old traveling comedian regularly presents at churches.

Those listening to Myers’ torrent of wisecracks that Sunday were treated to various anecdotes:

— The ex-girlfriend, Jessica, who already had named their future kids after just weeks of dating: Jenna, Jacob, Jeffrey and José. (“I didn’t know we were adopting! That’s awesome!”)

— Girls who dye their hair too much. (“You aren’t just picking out purple, you’re picking out how purple — it ranges from purple mist to unemployed.”)

— His mom, who insists on using baby talk at the grocery store. (“MOM, that’s ENOUGH! YES, Pookie Bear wants some nanner-nanners!”)

— Translating old church ladies’ euphemisms. (“If my grandma says, ‘Bless your heart,’ she doesn’t want your heart to be blessed. She hates your guts.”)

— Baby talk that isn’t acceptable in adult company. (“You’re so cute I just wanna eat you up. I wanna cut you up into little pieces. I wanna squeeze you so hard you can’t breathe. Coochie coochie coo!”)

— Being told his face looked thinner after he lost 135 pounds. (“How fat was my face?”)

— Choosing names for a super-sized superhero. (Girthquake. Supperman. Fatman. … Gov. Chris Christie.)

— Visiting an Iowa church. (“Honestly, I thought the communion would be taking corn.”)

— Meeting a woman on Craigslist. (“It might be awkward because your daughter graduated before me and I might become her dad.”)

— Spending time with the people you love. (“Next thing I knew, Grandma had a knife at my brother’s throat, my parents were both screaming, my uncle threw the cat through the front window. … It’s family game night.”)

— How he arrived at his career choice of comedian. (“I have no other talent in my life. My only options are to be a comedian — or to play football for the Hawkeyes.”)

His presentation — which included a sweaty dance performance in the church’s pews and a performance of Haddaway’s “What Is Love” using loop pedals that culminated in cacophonic layers of Myers’ voice, singing, then laughing, then screaming, ultimately leading to a mini-breakdown onstage — took a serious turn as Myers prepared to wrap up.

“There was a time in my life when I didn’t think I’d be happy again, laugh again or be joyful again,” he said.

He spent his life setting goals, Myers said — more recently, promising himself he’d be happy if he lost weight. But when he reached that goal, he found it wasn’t enough. And when a relationship ended in a tragic way several years ago, he ended up flunking out of college and feeling as though he was out of options.

In December of 2013, he laid on a bedroom floor in his parents’ house and planned to kill himself.

He prayed — “I have nothing left to offer. I quit.”

What he learned that day, he said, is that God has a plan even for people who feel as though they’re finished.

“And he says the same thing to you,” Myers said. “He still has a plan and a purpose and a design for you.”

Now, he shares that purpose in various states, flavoring his message with humor.

“This is my passion,” he said. “I am really passionate about joy. I’m passionate about happiness and laughing.”

Church is a great place to laugh, Myers said.

“You can come to church and sit still and say, ‘I am proper,’ and act like you have it all together,” he said. “But when you start laughing, we see who you really are — and that’s amazing.”

He’s the first to acknowledge that life can be tough, Myers said.

“Life can be so hard,” he said. “But my identity is that I am loved by Jesus, and that’s so awesome. Some of you didn’t laugh today because you’re so stressed-out, but I think some people almost peed their pants.”

And it’s OK to laugh in church, he said — preferably without peeing your pants, but mistakes happen.

After all, Myers concluded, church people — they’re the weirdest people in the world.

As he’d hoped, the crowd laughed.