Grady Lee Nutt (September 2, 1934–November 23, 1982) was a Southern Baptist minister, humorist, television personality, and author. His humor revolved around rural Southern Protestantism and earned him the title as "The Prime Minister of Humor." Below is a transcription of Grady Lee telling a story from the recording, "A Laugh And A Half." If you want to listen to the audio, click the title of the post. For more audio and info, go to An Unofficial Grady Nutt Page.
Baptists are notorious for a lot of things, preaching – some of our evangelistic services and things like that when we try to put high pressure on you for low living. All parts of the service have always fascinated me; I love even the welcome to the visitors, I love the offering, I love everything about it! It’s just fun to do.
But one of the things we’ve always done in Baptist churches is what we call the “invitation service,” that’s at the end of the preaching when we sing these songs like, “Just As I Am” and “Have Thine Own Way, O Lord” and “Aaaaaaalmoooooost Persuaaaaaaaded” – now if that won’t almost persuade you, you’ve basically got a statue heart, that’s what it is. Sing old sad songs, “Deathbeds Are Coming,” and all that kind of stuff. Trying to scare something out of you so you’ll go onto heaven, it’s that kind of deal.
Basically, “If you’re doing it, give it up, quit it, and come down here and share it with us so I’ll know I haven’t been pouring all this down the tube.”
Well, the invitation service is frequently treated like a threat. My father could do that about as good as any preacher you ever saw; he could just act like he knew who did it! And that just scares the church right into looking at the hymn book. I’ve seen them sing 95 verses of “Just As I Am” and never look up, just “Juuuust aaaaas I aaaam” – they won’t look up – that means you did it. See? I mean, don’t look up.
And dad would walk back and forth like a panther in the cage at the city zoo – he knew who did it!
Well, he would just go on and on and on – I remember one Sunday, I was about 15 or 16 years old, it was about ten after one, and dad had reeeeally been bringing the pressure on – HAAH! We were down to about 95 or 96 verses of “Just As I Am” and I was afraid he was about to start on “Almost Persuaded” and I did not want to go to the mission field. That day I might have volunteered just to go home for lunch, y’know? I might’ve done it.
Well, it was about ten after one and mother put her arm around my shoulder and she said, “Grady Lee?”
I said, “What?”
I said, “What?”
She said, “Would you please go forward and rededicate your life to God? The roast is burning.”
I stepped out in the aisle and dad was kind of shocked, y’know? You hate to go an hour and ten minutes and find out it was your kid that did it, y’see.
He looked up as I came down the aisle, sort of like, “Nononono!”
And I was like, “Yesyesyesyes!” I just kept coming.
Well, he took me by the hand and with his 310 pounds, he kind of beat on my back, *WHOOM, WHOOM!* and that’s why a lot of people kneel at the altar: they get the breath beat out of them by the preachers. He pulled me in close and leaned over and said, “What is it, Grady Lee?”
I said, “The roast is burning.”
So he called for prayer for an “unspoken” concern, and it really embarrassed me, ‘cause there was no telling what they thought I had done! I really think that he should have just said, “The roast is burning; let us pray!”