Getting Crunk for Christ: Comedy Club Tries To Overcome Noise From Neighboring Church

- By Bossip Staff

An Austin, TX comedy club can’t get rid of one pesky neighbor … which just happens to be a church! The club and church are located in the same office space/strip mall complex and they’ve been at odds over noise levels for some time. Now, despite a request from the landlord, the church is refusing to relocate.

It isn’t the first conflict of it’s kind; similar problems in San Diego, CA, Mesa, AZ and Ft. Lauderdale, FL have resulted in lawsuits, tougher noise ordinances and registered complaints — with mixed results.

Fresh Oil’s founder and leader Bishop Nathan Thomas is calling the request that the church move religious bigotry and racism. He recently organized several protests earlier this month using the slogan “Jokes vs. Jesus”.

The church “can’t walk away from its assignment,” Thomas told his mostly black congregation recently. “We’re changing lives.”

Across the country, religious congregations are entering nontraditional spaces at an increasing rate, religious experts say, as churches seek to lower their rent and attract worshipers with an informal atmosphere.

A bill Congress passed in 2000 that prohibits zoning authorities from discriminating against religious groups is also encouraging churches’ migration into former bowling alleys, old furniture stores and strip malls…

Fresh Oil, whose name is inspired by a Bible Psalm and is meant to signify a new beginning, started out in a living room in 1997. After several moves, its members now gather in an office space tucked between the comedy club and a temporary labor agency in a North Austin neighborhood also shared by car-parts stores, Drakula Romanian restaurant and the Foxy Salon.

Bishop Thomas, who wears his shoulder-length hair in braids and uses his blackberry as a cheat sheet when preaching, says he is trying to steer his flock away from the stiffness of traditional church services. Fresh Oil’s Bible study, held every Wednesday evening, is accompanied by booming drums, keyboards and microphone-enhanced singing — and this is proving a problem for the performers at the comedy club next door.

“Stand-up is a very constructed experience,” said Mr. French, who’s written for David Letterman and Dennis Miller. “If there’s any distraction at all it doesn’t work.”

At Cap City, which opened its doors more than 20 years ago, audience members are asked to silence their cellphones during shows and waiters move gently about the tables so nothing gets between punch lines and the audience.

The club’s business and Fresh Oil’s services next door “are not compatible,” said Rich Miller, one of the club’s owners.

George Shakiban, the landlord, said Bishop Thomas is confusing a legitimate request to vacate the premises with prejudice. Aside from playing loud music, Fresh Oil breached a long-term rental contract because its security deposit check bounced, he said.

“At the end of the day this is a business,” said Mr. Shakiban, who is based in California.

Bishop Thomas said the check was good and that Fresh Oil is being bullied out of the strip mall because it is a black church.

“I’m not going nowhere till a judge hears our case,” he said.

On a recent evening, he and a couple dozen of his followers gathered at the parking lot outside the comedy club armed with posters reading “Jesus is not a joke” and “We’re fighting for our future.”

Across from them, comedians scribbled their own lines on pieces of cardboard. Said one, “God is light, so lighten up.”

WOW…Jesus is no joke. Would we be wrong to ask WWJD?

Source

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Comments

  • Sylmarvelous

    It would make more sense for the comedy club to move! I mean really, who asks for a church to move-unless there are doing some crazy stuff like devil worship?! I guess!

  • ThisMomsADiVA

    Why can’t they get together and work their schedules around each other. Can’t we all just get along?

  • http:chokolatemilk.blogspot.com Choco

    Good Lord where is the peace!

  • KeepNit2Real

    Dominique

    12/28/09, 14:28:pm

    Sadly enough alot of people will burn in hell.
    _________________

    The Bible doesn’t teach anything about a burning hell when man dies. What church you been going to?

    *smh*

  • drenk

    ah damn now the bible thumpers will come out preaching and quoting!!!

  • KeepNit2Real

    that shouldn’t bother you drenk. Go as you were my friend…lol

  • binarystar

    Why would it make more sense for the comedy club to move – it’s been there for over 20 years!

    And who goes to church in a strip mall anyway?

  • binarystar

    @Dominique “Why would they ask the church to move, makes no sense.”

    It might make more sense if you read the article before you open your trap. Just sayin.

  • KeepNit2Real

    binarystar

    12/28/09, 15:16:pm

    Why would it make more sense for the comedy club to move – it’s been there for over 20 years!

    And who goes to church in a strip mall anyway?
    ———

    lol…exactly.

  • drenk

    @ KeepNit2Real & binarystar
    And who goes to church in a strip mall anyway?
    ————————

    come on you never wanted to go get your nails done, get a slice of pizza then go to prayer group all without having to move your car?

  • binarystar

    Don’t forget the Big N Tall store for a tacky-ass baggy yellow suit to wear to the church.

  • Michelle

    The Church should move. The argument is not about God and as the gentleman stated @ the end of the day “Church” is still a business. If their deposit check bounced and they are disturbing other business’, they are in default of the rental agreement. The other business has been there for 20 years. Regardless if it was a daycare or a liquor store, the Church is still infringing on them. Not about Jesus, its about Business.

  • Testing

    “Bishop Thomas said the check was good and that Fresh Oil is being bullied out of the strip mall because it is a black church.”

    So I guess the bounced security deposit check had nothing to do with it?

  • LBCER

    That church must stay open all night.

  • Alrighty Then...

    I live in this city… lol… that’s funny. Been to Cap City Comedy club quite a few times but never noticed a church (maybe because it was always a friday/saturday and it’s been a while)… Anyway, I say the church needs to move. That place has been around (the comedy club) forever…
    And I agree, who puts a church in a strip mall? The area is not really where you would expect to find a church, pretty commercial round there….

  • http://bossp.com MZOJUMU

    THE CHURCH IS DOING WHAT IT HAS BEEN DOING FOR THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF YEARS YOU CAN NOT KEEP GOD QUIET….WHEN THE SPIRIT IS IN THERE IT IS IN THERE..SO THE COMEDY CLUB NEEDS TO MOVE IF IT IS NOT HAPPY WITH THE CHURCH…BECAUSE THE JOKE WILL BE ON THEM ONCE GOD GET ON THEM…IF YOU DONT STAND FOR NOTHING YOU WILL FALL FOR ANYTHING…CHURCH DO YOUR WORK CAST THEM DEVILS OUT THAT COMEDY CLUB

  • http://bossp.com MZOJUMU

    AND TO THOSE TALKING ABOUT A CHUCH IN THE STRIP MALL REMEMBER YOU CAN PRAISE GOD ANYWHERE EVEN OUT OF A GARBAGE CAN…..

  • drenk

    @ MZOJUMU

    god needs to make sure his followers dont go giving out bad checks that’ll bounce

  • Alrighty Then...

    RIGHT, you can praise God ANYWHERE, wherever his people are, so is He. Can’t say the same about the Comedy club. Therefore, the church should move.

  • e

    The need to work out a simple schedule where one is closed when another is opened. Have service on sunday till 4pm, tuesday night at 7pm , outreach on saturday at 10am choir practice at noon. These are times when the comedy club should not be operating…Wow, took me 30 seconds to fix this issue!! NEXT World hunger.

  • e

    and you are NOT a bishop with one church, you are a PASTOR… stop all the title crap and do the work….That is true ignorance…better yet if you are responsible for several churches then you should not be in a strip mall…maybe in the area, but not in a strip mall…

    so silly

  • Mystic Jewlez

    @ MZOJUMU

    god needs to make sure his followers dont go giving out bad checks that’ll bounce
    _______________________________________________________
    PREACH! That was exactly what I was thinking.

  • Ann

    Praise HIM!

  • Thatbitch

    e
    12/28/09, 17:15:pm

    The need to work out a simple schedule where one is closed when another is opened. Have service on sunday till 4pm, tuesday night at 7pm , outreach on saturday at 10am choir practice at noon. These are times when the comedy club should not be operating…Wow, took me 30 seconds to fix this issue!! NEXT World hunger.
    ________________________________________________

    Basically.

  • texanbelle

    LMFAO @ DRENK!

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