“Laughter, like music, is a universal language.                                                                                                                                And Susan Sparks speaks this language like no other.”                                                                                                    –Naomi Judd, Multi-platinum Country Music Artist


Hi y’all, I’m Susan Sparksa trial lawyer turned preacher, comedian, best-selling author, inspirational speaker, award-winning nationally syndicated columnist, and Harley-riding cowboy boot addict.

I know, I know . . . this sounds more like a personality disorder than a career path.

Whatever it is, I love what I do! Why? Because . . .

I help people reclaim their joy.

Stress, unforeseen crises, commitments, aging parents, kids, health issues, and money worries weigh on us constantly. But even in the worst of circumstances, it’s still life. And we can still choose joy.

Here’s my philosophy in a nutshell:

If you can laugh at yourself, you can forgive yourself. And if you can forgive yourself, you can forgive others.

Laughter reduces the effects of stress, promotes physical healing, alters our perspectives, defuses negativity and conflict, bridges human differences, generates hope, restores our sense of purpose, and renews our ability to see miracles in everyday life.

That’s why my mission in life is to change the world . . . one smile at a time.

And you can, too! Here are some ways . . .

ENJOY a free copy of my “Ten Commandments of Joy,” an accompanying inspirational video, and a free subscription to my bi-monthly newsletter, The Shiny Side Up! Just CLICK HERE.

GET INSPIRED by watching one of my sermons, keynotes, Ecourses, or weekly inspirational meditations on YOUTUBE.

LAUGH and THINK while reading one of my award-winning BOOKS.

INVITE ME to be part of your next event! (Check out this fun three-minute summary of what I offer!)

However you choose to do it — JOIN ME!

Let’s change the world together . . . one smile at a time.

– Susan


As a trial lawyer turned standup comedian and Baptist minister, Susan Sparks is America’s only female comedian with a pulpit.  A North Carolina native, Susan received her B.A. at the University of North Carolina where she was President of her class and a law degree from Wake Forest University.

After ten years as a lawyer moonlighting as a standup, she left her practice and spent two years on a solo trip around the world, including working with Mother Teresa’s mission in Calcutta, climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro, and driving her Jeep Wrangler solo from NYC to Alaska. Upon returning home, she entered Union Theological Seminary in New York City, where she earned a Master of Divinity and wrote an honors thesis on humor and religion. In May 2007 Susan was installed as the 15th Senior Minister of the historic Madison Avenue Baptist Church in New York City. She was the first woman pastor in its 170-year history and she remains there to this day.

A TEDx speaker, Susan’s work with humor, healing, and spirituality has been featured in O (The Oprah) Magazine, the New York Times, and on such networks as ABC, CNN, CBS, and the History Channel.

A professional comedian, Susan tours nationally with a stand-up Rabbi and a Muslim comic in the Laugh in Peace Tour. She is also an internationally known preacher and speaker whose wide-ranging clients include the World Bank, the Chautauqua Institution, Habitat for Humanity, colleges and universities, Canyon Ranch, religious conventions, and national/regional gatherings for cancer survivors and caregivers (Susan is a breast cancer survivor).

In addition to her speaking and preaching, Susan is the author of five books and wrote an award-winning nationally syndicated column through the USA Today network.

Susan is the 20th recipient of the John L. Haber Award for Outstanding Contribution to the Arts given by the University of North Carolina (and comedian/alum Lewis Black), as well as a recipient of the Intersections International Award for interfaith work to promote justice and reconciliation among diverse communities.

Most importantly, Susan and her husband Toby love to fly-fish, ride their Harleys, eat good BBQ, and root for North Carolina Basketball and the Green Bay Packers.

Selected Press & Appearances:

January 19, 2021 I Columbia Theological Seminary

Virtual interview for seminary class on standup comedy and preaching. My book “Preaching Punchlines” is one of the textbooks!


Virtual comedy show for the Children of Abraham multi-faith coalition.

February 4, 2021 I Creativity in the Age of COVID podcast

Tune in at 5pm EST for my interview on “Creativity in the Age of COVID” with Richard Skipper!

March 17, 2021 I First Baptist Church, Athens, GA

Virtual presentation on Grace-Filled Gratitude: A 40 Day Joy Journal.

March 23, 2021 I Wake Forest University Women 2021 Conference

Virtual workshop: The Road Never Traveled: Nine Steps to Tweak or Change Your Career Path

March 31, 2021 I PBS Interview

Interview with Emmy Award winning show “Counter Culture” on PBS 39.

April 15, 2021 I Shared Assessments Summit

Appearing on panel at the Shared Assessments Summit

April 20, 2021 I Marble Collegiate Church, NYC

Grace-Filled Gratitude Book Group

April 24, 2021 I Comedy Cures Laughter Summit

Workshop on the power of humor for The Laughter Summit!

April 29, 2021 I Day 1 Webinar

Join us for a webinar about joy, laughter, and a reading from my new book Love, a Tiara, and a Cupcake! 7pm!

May 3, 2021 I The MOTH virtual storytelling slam

Eastern Virtual Storytelling Slam

June 25, 2021 I American Baptist Churches, USA

VIRTUAL Keynote/comedy show for the American Baptist Churches USA Biennial gathering.

July 9, 2021 International Women's Forum

Virtual Workshop for International Women’s Forum of New Mexico

August 8, 2021 I Virtual Toronto, CA

Virtual guest sermon for Yorkminister Park Baptist Church in Toronto, Canada

October 21, 2021 I Duke Divinity School

Virtual conversation and QnA with preaching class at Duke University Divinity School

October 25, 2021 I Duke Divinity School

Virtual conversation and QnA with preaching class at Duke University Divinity School

December 9, 2021 I Virtual Women's Leadership Program

Virtual Women’s Leadership Program for Hyster-Yale Group.

January 13, 2022 I Central Baptist Theological Seminary

Preaching workshop for Central Baptist Theological Seminary

February 23-26, 2022 I Canyon Ranch Berkshires

Canyon Ranch Berkshires – Presenting workshops on the power of humor and how to pivot make any change.

May 19, 2022 I Indianapolis, IN

Laugh in Peace Tour Comedy Show for the 2022 Spirit and Place Festival.

September 19, 2023 I Dunkle Mackey Preaching Conference

Featured preacher at the Dunkle Mackey Preaching Conference

National Speakers Association