Can Laughter REALLY Bring Us Together? This Trial Lawyer Turned Baptist Minister and Stand-Up Comic Thinks So

Aired 8 December 2020 – 5:00 PM EDT

An Interview With “Stand-Up Minister” and Author Susan Sparks

“If we want peace in the Mideast, first we need to have peace in the Midwest.” — Swami Beyondananda



We’ve all heard the saying that laughter is healing, and you probably have heard the story about the writer Norman Cousins. Back in the 1970s, he was diagnosed with a life-threatening illness that was so serious I can’t even pronounce it. Instead of checking into a hospital, he checked into a hotel room with Marx Brothers movies and Candid Camera re-runs – and he got well. His book, Anatomy of An Illness, caused quite a stir, and medical science began studying the healing power of humor – which is kind of like, well it works in practice, but does it work in theory?

Yes, laughter CAN heal … as we recognize that the true meaning of the word “healing” is to “restore wholeness.” In that way, the magic of levity can help us rise above the gravity in life and see from a higher perspective.

So … in these most contentious of times can laughing together keep us from crying separately? Our guest this week, Rev. Susan Sparks is a trial attorney turned stand-up comic and Baptist preacher. She has toured as part of an Abrahamic comedy troupe consisting of her, a rabbi, and a Muslim. She thinks laughter is a universal language of the heart that can help heal the illusion of separation.

I first met Susan in the early 2000s at an Association for Applied and Therapeutic Humor in San Diego, where we were both presenters. She was just making the shift from her career as an attorney to begin theological studies, and apply her skills as a stand-up comic. Since that time, she has written three books, Miracle on 31st Street, Preaching Punchlines, and Laugh Your Way to Grace, and has made numerous appearances on TV, radio and at pulpits across the country. She is currently the senior pastor at the Madison Avenue Baptist Church in Manhattan. Oh, and she is also a Harley-Davidson aficionado with a love for cowboy boots (I suppose that also makes her a Harley Krishna and a Bootist).

Seriously and humorously, when it comes to bring folks together around laughter, Susan has been there and done that. Can laughter help all sides see things from a different angle? To find out, please join me this for this show.

To find out more about Susan Sparks, please go here: