Comedy Club Battles Church in Texas Mall
Comedians sick of too-loud gospel music; church cries bigotry
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 28, 2009 11:08 AM CST
The banner from Fresh Oil's website.

(Newser) – It sounds like a sitcom setup: A comedy club and a boisterous church move in next to each other in the same Texas strip mall and can’t stand each other. Hilarity ensues. But it’s a scenario that’s actually playing out in Austin, the Wall Street Journal reports, where the Capitol City Comedy club has complained that they can’t take the gospel music pouring through the walls from Fresh Oil Family Fellowship. “Am I being heckled by God?” one comedian wondered aloud.

The landlord has asked Fresh Oil to move out, but the church has resisted, launching protests under the slogan “Jokes vs. Jesus.” The nondenominational church’s leader, Bishop Nathan Thomas, says his predominantly black congregation is the victim of religious bigotry and racism. “I’m not going nowhere till a judge hears our case,” he says. But the landlord says the request is legitimate, adding that Fresh Oil’s security deposit check bounced.