RIPLEY – The Ripley Arts Council/Dixie Theatre will host Comedian Drew Davis on Saturday.
“It’s our 40th anniversary this month, and to celebrate, we have begun renovations and developed Stage on Main at Dixie Theatre to bring an array of entertainment to Ripley,” said Roxanne Ward, president of Stage on Main.
“We are thrilled to have family-friendly comedian, Drew Davis, live on stage this weekend. To my knowledge, we have never had a comedian perform,” Ward said.
Davis's comedy show was booked as a result of a partnership between 2022 Grammy-award winner Cedric Burnside and Chuck Duncan of Ripley's future Jook Joint and Stage on Main.
Burnside and Duncan envision their future Jook Joint as a venue for high-quality live music and entertainment. Renovations to the Jook Joint, which is inside Dianne Pulse’s former location on the town square, began in 2021.
"I want to help the community, and I want to bring people from all over the world," Burnside said of his vision for the Jook Joint.
"I want to bring people together," he said. "I want people to come to Ripley. I want them to see what Ripley has to offer and I also want Ripley to see something that they never saw before. And not just Ripley, the whole hill country."
Although he hails from the Holly Springs area, Burnside has spent a considerable amount of time working in Ripley over the last few years, and he's grown fond of the town.
Construction delays slowed Burnside and Duncan’s progress on the Jook Joint, but an extended completion timeline didn’t slow down the pair, due to the partnership with Stage on Main.
The partnership has already resulted in bringing diversified acts to Ripley’s stage. Prior to this weekend's comedy show, Dixie Theatre, partnering with Burnside and Duncan, hosted Little Joe Ayers, iconic Mississippi Hills Country blues singer and guitarist, on Saturday, August 7.
Drew Davis, 35, is performing this weekend with the intention of making the audience laugh until their bellies hurt- and then making them laugh a little more. He grew up outside of Nashville, in Brentwood, Tennessee. While in high school, he discovered his love for public speaking through preaching regularly at his church and summer youth events. Davis said, “Frequently after a sermon, I would hear the comment, ‘Hey, if preaching falls through you could have a career as a standup comedian!’ Little did they know.”
In 2006, Davis went to Milligan College (Now Milligan University) and received a degree in Bible with a concentration in Youth Ministry. After college, in 2010, Davis briefly moved to Richmond, Kentucky. In addition to working his first “adult” job as a full-time youth pastor, Davis performed at his first open mic in Lexington, Kentucky at Comedy Off Broadway in 2012 and instantly fell in love with the art of stand-up comedy. “Telling jokes became one of my new favorite activities,” he said.
Shortly after he started performing, Davis left his youth ministry job and moved back to Nashville. Aspiring to become a full-time speaker and comedian, Davis performed around Nashville and the southeast and worked part time as a cashier for the next few years. Much of his album, Revolutionizing Failure resulted from his experiences during this time.
In 2016, Davis accepted a full scholarship to seminary, conditional of returning to work as a youth pastor. He moved to Covington, TN to serve at Covington First United Methodist Church while earning his masters in Youth Ministry at Memphis Theological Seminary. Davis continued to do stand-up comedy. In 2019, Davis earned his seminary degree and recorded his first album, Revolutionizing Failure at South Street Comedy Club in Jackson, TN.
In 2022, after ten years of being a standup comedian, Davis returned to Nashville and transitioned from full-time youth ministry to full-time comedy. In addition to working as a standup comic, Drew finds work writing as a comedian and also continues to preach and utilize his youth ministry expertise.
Davis prides himself on being able to work in all kinds of rooms, making as many people as possible laugh. His humor is often considered “Cleanish” or “Edgy Clean.” His jokes do not gravitate towards profanity, but he’ll often address topics that the most squeaky-clean comics choose to stay away from, such as racism, homophobia, or “bad stereotypes of youth pastors.” He also finds humor in church stereotypes, in his past experiences as a cashier, and in all the weird quirks of his body, voice, and personality. Davis’s audiences that love him the most are, in his assessment, “The Church people…but when they’re not sitting in their pews, and can feel comfortable laughing at my jokes without feeling like their Christian friends are judging them.”
Although a Christian himself, Davis opts not to limit his audience by labelling himself as a “Christian Comic,” because part of his testimony involves recognizing the importance of meeting people outside of the Christian faith and how that has helped him personally grow as a believer and a person.
“I am so excited to be coming to perform in Ripley this Saturday,” Davis said. “This is my first time in Northeastern Mississippi and everyone who is putting together the show has been so nice, so it definitely has been a wonderful first impression! The show this Saturday will be amazing, as I am bringing two other comedians, Lee Hardin and Shawn Mathenia, and they are absolutely hilarious. We will be having a wonderful time, and I hope everyone can come out! You won’t regret it.”
Davis's show begins at 7 p.m. on Saturday. Tickets are $10 each and may be purchased by calling (662)993-ARTS.