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The UNC Department of Communication Presents

Breaking Up With Jesus

Digital Program

Returning to the South after eight years away, Joey Richards is forced to confront and come to terms with a turbulent ex. In this autobiographical one-person show, Joey reveals the sometimes funny, sometimes heart breaking journey of getting out of a toxic relationship with Jesus Christ.

Written and Performed by Joseph Richards

Directed by Joseph Megel

Technical Direction:  Will Bosley

Running Crew:  Chandler Classen & Ryan Kroll

Box Office:  Jude Onuoha, Dafna Kaufman, Elain Schnabel and Sam Thies.  


Graphic by Alayna Fennell


Program Design by Evan Davison


Workstudy Marketing Team:  Evan Davison, Izzy D’alo, Alayna Fennell, Claire Walsh


Department of Communication Staff:  DaVon Clack, Olivia Hopkins and Jonah Hodge.


ASL Interpreters (Sunday)  Ryan Pinion and Jennifer Banner



This piece started out as a stand-up lark built around a mediocre punchline, but with the help of so many kind, caring and direct collaborators, it became what it is today: something I’m proud of and will keep nurturing. 




To the tech team - Will Bosley, Chandler Classen and Ryan Kroll. Thank you all for making the piece come alive.


To the box office team, Jude Onuoha, Dafna Kaufman, Elaine Schnabel and Sam Thies - Thank you for taking names and kicking ass.


To Ryan Pinion and Jennifer Banner – Thank you for providing ASL interpretation for the Sunday show and helping to make this story accessible. 


To Alayna Fennell – Thank you for designing a poster that perfectly encapsulates the show and makes me smile every time I look at it.


To Joseph Megel’s COMM 660: Advanced Performance Projects class - Thank you all for listening to draft after draft of this piece and helping me find the right moments to share. Especially to Meli Kimathi, thank you for asking if Jesus was a deity or a human in this piece. That one question helped me decide where to place him. To Daniel Reyes, thank you for being my performance rehearsal partner and for the feedback when we worked together. 


To Dr. Tony Perucci – Thank you for the constant support of my forays into stand-up and comedy as method, theory and research. 


To Dr. Lisa Calvente – Thank you for being so gracious and really helping me find time and space to work on this show.


To Dr. Renée Alexander Craft – Thank you for your leadership in the department and for the encouragement of the power of storytelling.


To my cohort and my fellow comm grad students – Thank you for listening to me talk about this piece constantly and for being so kind and loving about it moving forward.


To Scott Dillard and Amy Burt - Thank you both for showing me what performance is and can be back in the early 2000s in a classroom at Georgia College & State University. 


To Cajsa, Peter and Garret - You are all some of the most perverted people I know, which means you were the perfect audience for the earliest versions of this script. 


To Stephen and Rachel - Thanks for honestly letting me talk about these stories around your kitchen table back when we could gather around a kitchen table. I’m sorry that the casting out demons story didn’t make it in here, but one day. Cross my heart.


To Nick, Marci and Adam - Thank you for logging into an online video program to watch me run through this piece. Thank you for sharing feedback afterward and for helping me find the voices and movements I needed.


To Joseph Megel - Thank you for believing in this piece early on and for encouraging me to see it through. Most of all, thank you for moving this story from my head to the rest of my body, for encouraging me to put myself on the stage in a way that is frightening the way most healing is. 


To Kira Jones - I would not even be here if not for you. You left California, where the weather was perfect and bugs didn’t exist (at least not in our fucking apartment). You can see what I need and where I’m trying to go and you help me get out of my way. You knew this was a story I needed to tell maybe before I did. You listened to me rehearse over and over and over and over. You learned lines with me. You helped me cut the writing I didn’t need. In fact, I’m pretty sure you could give this performance if I couldn’t. Thank you. 


To Rita Hopson - Mom, your voice was the hardest one for me to figure out in this piece because I still just want to make you proud and not lose your love. 


To Gordon Lamar Harrison, Jr. - You will always be my Dad. 


To Memaw - There was no one like you. You’re my heart.