If you think Christian comedy is an oxymoron, you haven't seen John Crist.

The YouTube sensation may have wore his faith on his sleeve during a 90-minute performance Tuesday at Target Center, but he came across more like a snickering teen in the last pew than a down-home preacher.

Crist relied a little too heavily on special effects and prancing around the stage as if he was possessed by the spirit of Shirley Temple, but the material was rock solid -- especially if you understood his references to Bathsheba, Lazarus and Joel Osteen. He may be a true believer, but the 35-year-old comic wasn't above sneaking in a sexual innuendo or two.

Minnesotans weren't off limits, either. In both his stand-up performance and a video he recorded with opening act with Dustin Nickerson, the comedian made sure to drop plenty of local references. At one point, he compared Jesus's relationship with his brother to St. Paul's relationship with Minneapolis.

"Yeah, they're brothers, but only one does the cool stuff," he said.

Despite the digs, Crist won over the audience, clearly filled with fellow Christians. When he challenged the crowd to fill in the verses of Sunday-school ditties, he triggered the kind of sing-alongs you'd expect at a Neil Diamond concert.

The inaugural Minneapolis Comedy Festival continues through Saturday with performances from Seth Meyers, Bob Newhart and Jeremy Piven. Tickets are available at minneapoliscomedyfestival.com

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