The tea totaller

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Comic response

My web host provides me with a number of interesting statistics, including the search terms that have brought people to my site through various search engines.

I posted last year about my appreciation of the late humorist Grady Nutt, and then early this year about someone who was kind enough to dub one or two of Grady’s out-of-print routines to CD for me.

I am not the only one who wishes they would re-release Grady’s material on CD, apparently; I get hits just about every month from people who start looking for Grady on line and somehow wind up at one of my old blog posts.

Today, I got a telephone message from Mikel Williams, a Christian comic who was a friend of Grady Nutt’s and who has a quote from Grady on his web site. He told me he is not to be confused with Michael Williams, another Christian comic. (I hadn’t heard of either of them.)

Mikel compared his style to Grady’s, so those of you who are looking for Grady’s material might want to check him out.

Generosity

I was shown generosity twice today.

Well, probably much more than that, but there are two particulars that are worth mentioning.

An old college friend became the first person to donate to my mission trip through the web site donation links. I haven’t seen him in ages and had lost touch completely until a few months ago, when he e-mailed me out of the blue. I really appreciated his generous gift towards the trip.

I am not a file-sharer, and — as a creator — I well recognize the importance of protecting copyrights. But I’d looked in vain for some out-of-print recordings by the late humorist (and Baptist preacher) Grady Nutt. A reader of this blog offered a while back to dub one of my favorite Grady Nutt routines, “The Tea Totallers,” to CD for me. He wanted nothing in return, and even added a few musical numbers from Grady’s gospel album for good measure. It came in the mail today, an act of kindness. (I promise I’ll buy the album when and if it’s re-released on CD.)

Two thank-you notes will go out in tomorrow’s mail.

Grady Nutt

One of our area ministers stopped by the newspaper today, and when he mentioned something about pastors being only human I immediately thought of a quote by the late Grady Nutt.

That led me to reminisce about Grady Nutt, and to look and see if any of his old albums had been rereleased on CD. I couldn’t find any, and that saddens me to no end. If I could find a copy of whatever album “The Tea Totallers” appeared on, I would buy it in a heartbeat.

The Rev. Grady Nutt was a Southern Baptist preacher who became a standup comedian, with his faith, his family and his occupation as his subject matter. For a while, he was a regular on “Hee Haw” (he was unpretentious enough to appear on “Hee Haw,” but don’t let that scare you off). He talked about how pastors were only human; that was the quote that came up this morning. Grady said that when a pastor hits his thumb with a hammer, he does not say “Verily and behold, I have slammed it.”

Grady even made a TV situation comedy pilot about life as a pastor. It wasn’t picked up and was burned off one summer during the 1970s as a special. Grady died, much too young, in an airplane crash.

The story “The Tea Totallers” takes a long time to tell and only Grady could do it justice. But it has to do with a minister’s family which is hosting the family of a visiting evangelist for lunch. One of the children spills a glass of iced tea all over the tablecloth, and the mother — who has been slaving away to make everything spotless and perfect for the special guests — begins to tremble as if she’s about to have an apoplectic fit. The father, however, stares her down until he has her full attention — and then reaches out and intentionally knocks over his own glass. Pretty soon, everyone at the table, including the mother and the bewildered visitng pastor, is gleefully knocking over tea glasses. It’s a perfect Mary-and-Martha parable about what’s really important in life, as opposed to the details about which we often obsess.

Even funnier are stories that I recall about Grady being forced to counsel a grieving widow in the only unoccupied room in her house — the bathroom — and about a baptism by immersion gone terribly awry.

Someone please, please get this man’s material onto CD. The world still needs him.