Armed with an abundance of unpretentious Southern charm and laser sharp wit, Chonda Pierce has been entertaining audiences from coast to coast for more than a decade. An in-demand stand up comic, television hostess and author, Pierce has parlayed her gift for storytelling into a multi-faceted career.
Pierce has authored eight books with most recent being, Laughing In the Dark (Simon&Schuster/Howard) and has ranked among Pollstar's top-selling live performers. Her tenth comedy DVD, "I’m Kind of a Big Deal," released September, 2011 highlights her USO tour to Afghanistan. Pierce's DVDs are consistently strong sellers both on tour and in retail with EIGHT titles having been certified RAIA gold and FOUR titles certified RAIA platinum. She's a frequent guest on the famed Grand Ole Opry and has served as host of the Inspirational Country Music Awards and Christian Music Hall of Fame Awards as well as co-hosting the GMA Dove awards in 2012. She received FIVE Daytime Emmy nominations for her work co-hosting "Aspiring Women," a talk show on the Total Living Network and her first television special, "This Ain't Prettyville!" appeared on CMT (Country Music Television) nationwide. She has appeared on Life Today, The Wanda Sykes Show, The Mike Huckabee Show, as well as ABC’s popular talk show, the View. She appeared in THREE movies airing on major networks this year. Her comedy is regularly featured on XM and Sirius satellite radio.
Pierce got her first break working at a theme park in Nashville where she performed as Grand Ole Opry star Minnie Pearl. “I think I slipped in the back door,” she says of her entrance in comedy. “I was a college student when I auditioned at Opryland USA and was cast in a music and dance show called Country Music USA. Trouble is, I was a terrible dancer! Southern preacher’s kids can’t dance. They tried to teach me but I had two left feet. My boss told me I had better come up with another talent. ” She laughs, “In order to keep my job, I memorized three pages of jokes from Grinders Switch, TN and I impersonated Minnie Pearl for six years. I fell in love with this craft. I still love singing and I still try dancing—but comedy is my first love.”
When Pierce decided to pursue comedy full tilt, she recorded “Second Row, Piano Side,” a collection that drew heavily on her roots as a preacher’s kid in South Carolina. Growing up in a Southern church provided Pierce with an arsenal of material that both church goers, and those who had never sat in a pew, found hilarious.
“I come straight from the world of wooden pews and hell fire preaching. Some of it probably did a little damage – that’s where I get my warped sense of humor - but most of those days gave me solid roots,” she says. “You learn a lot from your past – what to weed through and throw out and what to hold onto forever.”