Comedian Anita Renfroe gained national attention a few years ago with her YouTube video of "momisms" set to the William Tell Overture. In under three minutes, she sang everything a mother says to a child in one day.
Since then, the 50-year-old worked briefly as a commentator on "Good Morning America," filmed a TV sitcom pilot that was never picked up with "Whose Line is it Anyway?" star Ryan Stiles and toured the country.
A devout Christian from Atlanta, she is married to a man who was a pastor for many years ("I'm sleeping with my pastor," she jokes) and began her comedy career in church basements. She was performing at national Christian women's conferences when her YouTube video broke. But as she has become more famous, she has targeted her shows to a broader audience. "I won't ask you to accept Jesus as your savior at my show," she said.
She describes her act as "estrogen-flavored musical comedy" that is closer to a variety show than traditional stand-up. The jokes are clean and are nothing she wouldn't say at home to her family. "You don't have to wash your ears out after my show," she said.
Her performance is designed for women to
attend with a group of good friends. "For people who have seasonal-affective disorder, this could be part of your treatment and you could deduct it from your taxes," she joked.
She finds humor in modern life, including the lengths people will go to attain beauty. She thinks it's odd that women will inject botulism of an inch from the brain to look young. "This world is just a little bit crazy and if we don't take time out to laugh, we'll curl up in the fetal position," she said.
She said she faces special challenges as a woman comedian because there aren't many out there, and audience members have extra expectations for the ones that are working. While men can basically jump off the plane and head to their shows in jeans and a T-shirt, women performers have to have their hair, makeup and clothes perfect. If they don't, they will face withering critiques from female audience members, Renfroe said.
"Sometimes I choose special shoes because at least I will get complemented for my shoe choices," she said.
Renfroe's three children are all grown and in their 20s, and she is now a grandmother of three, ranging from an infant to age 3. She loves it and says her friends were right when they said being a grandparent is the best. It's all the fun of parenting without the hard work.
"I don't feel at all responsible for their moral upbringing," she said. "I just enjoy their big slobbery kisses."
WHAT: Anita Renfroe
WHEN: 7 p.m. Thursday
WHERE: Rogers Theater, Gallo Center for the Arts, 1000 I St., Modesto
CALL: (209) 338-2100