Comedy and Christianity: How BYU student blends faith and fun

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Annie Ogden is a member of BYU’s comedy sketch group, Divine Comedy. She is a writer, director and actor with the group. (Annie Ogden)

BYU student Annie Ogden blends her faith in God and love of comedy to create clean, uplifting entertainment in hopes of having a positive influence on the world.

“I think that Christ really wants us to be a light and I think that comedy, when done in the right way, really can be a light to people,” Ogden said.

Ogden is a member of Divine Comedy, BYU’s sketch comedy group. A Lehi native, Ogden grew up watching Divine Comedy on YouTube and attending live performances on BYU campus.

BYU Divine Comedy creates clean comedy that is relatable to BYU students. Annie Ogdon sits in the bottom left, other BYU Divine Comedy members surround the table. (Annie Ogdon)

After serving as a missionary for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Orlando, Florida, Ogden volunteered as a crew member for Divine Comedy before deciding to audition to join the cast.

Leading up to her audition, Ogden said she recalls rehearsing sketches and writing jokes, but also preparing spiritually through scripture study and prayer.

“I really did feel like Heavenly Father was teaching me what this idea of Divine Comedy meant and that it was a way to serve Him,” Ogden said.

Before performing shows, Ogden said she often sits in temple parking lots to pray and prepare.

“I love to hear her pray. She just talks to Heavenly Father like they’re besties — and they are,” Christy Ogden, Annie’s mother, said.

Christy Ogden described the struggle of creating clean and uplifting comedy in a world that often presents comedy that is vulgar and insulting.

“I think it’s admirable that Annie’s been able to be a comedian without sliding into mocking people and being unkind,” Christy said.

Julia Lee, Annie’s fellow Divine Comedy cast member, described Annie as a “ball of sunshine,” and said she seeks to minister to her cast mates on- and off-stage.

In her Divine Comedy cast member bio, Annie said she has an intense love for the anime show Yu-gi-oh, Matt Damon and Takis.

When she is not performing with Divine Comedy, Annie is involved in a variety of other activities, including acting as president of the BYU Hebrew Club, performing with Provo’s improv comedy club ComedySportz and preparing to take the LSAT this summer.

In her freshman year at BYU, Annie struggled to decide what field of study to pursue. She explored many majors, including computer science, biblical studies and acting, but none of them felt right — she felt something was missing.

“On my mission it just clicked that the thing I was searching for… was the joy that came through the gospel of Jesus Christ,” Annie said.

Following her mission, Annie worked at the Missionary Training Center for four and a half years while attending BYU and pursuing a degree in advertising.

“It’s so cool to see how the pieces fit together and how it’s honestly so much better than I thought was possible,” Annie said.

To learn about Ogden’s upcoming performances or find more about Divine Comedy, visit the Divine Comedy website.

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