By Taylor Boyd
Chonda Pierce said she can deliver the entertainment people need in the current pandemic.
“People could use some laughs, and I’m one of the people who can provide them,” she said.
The Emmy-nominated comedienne plans to do just that when she performs Friday and Saturday, Oct. 2, and Oct. 3, at the Dominion Valley Park.
The shows will be held nightly from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m., as part of her “Chonda Pierce Live in Concert” or “Live Drive-in Theater” show.
Pierce, the No. 1 selling female comedian in the world and “Queen of Clean” comedy, is resuming her tour because she said she believes “it’s time for someone to make the move towards a semblance of normalcy. I feel called to do this now that it’s legal and safe to do.”
Pierce will debut new material during her show, including stories of her COVID-19 experiences. Primarily, she said she makes her jokes right off the cuff.
She mainly “just talks to the audience,” particularly about her southern upbringing and growing up in a church as a preacher’s child, she said.
While her Christian upbringing and God influence her standup, Pierce also was influenced early in her career by Sarah Cannon, professionally known as Minnie Pearl. Pierce was introduced to Cannon while working at the Grand Ole Opry as an impersonator of the Pearl character. While at the Opry, Cannon taught Pierce how to find humor in everyday life and how to connect with the audience.
Even with Cannon as a mentor, Pierce said she primarily had to learn by herself. “There were no Christian comics, especially female ones, when I was growing up.”
Pierce also is resuming her comedy tour to provide work for people in the entertainment industry who have not been able to do their normal jobs since the pandemic began in March.
“I need to do something to help provide these people work,” she said, and added that many of them have worked with her for years.
The open-air venue in Stuart is the perfect place to resume her tour, she said, adding that although she was invited to perform here, “it’s really a selfish stop. It’s so beautiful up through there.”
The biggest restriction for her is the safety of her staff and audience. Her shows will follow the social distance restrictions of the audience being six feet apart and masks will be required.
“Normally there are between 1,500 and 2,000 in a normal crowd, but with social distancing, there will be about 500 people spread out,” Pierce said, and added that she hopes to add shows like the one in Stuart to her tour because the location and venue provide the best safety from COVID-19 for her, her staff, and the audience.
Tickets for the show in Stuart are available at awakeningevents.com. General admission tickets are $29; VIP tickets are $55 and provide early admission and a question/answer period with Pierce. There is a 12-ticket limit per order. Seats will not be provided. Attendees are advised to bring chairs or blankets.