Kerri Pomarolli from Hollywood on Fire
Kerri Pomarolli is a successful stand-up comedian, actor, author, and wife to Ron and mother of Lucy. Called to live and work in Hollywood, she draws strength from her family and friends, hoping one day to see her childhood dream of being in a movie on the big screen come true. I talked with her one morning about her faith, her family, and Hollywood on Fire.
What’s happening right now for you professionally?
Kerri: I was just working on a treatment for the movie script of my book “Guys Like Girls Named Jenny.” I’m working with a great writer named Claire Lee who’s collaborating with me. She actually directed me in a film I was in this fall called Engaged. My husband and I got to be in it together. It’s going to premiere on cable TV. We had a theater showing in November, but SkyAngel has agreed to pick it up and show it. That was a really fun script to do.
My husband Ron wasn’t actually supposed to be in the film, but he came to one of the read-throughs and read the part of my father. He made the directors laugh so much they said, “We have to get him in this; he’s so funny.”
I’ve got some film companies that are interested in my book to turn it into a movie, so we’re hoping to get that produced. My goal is that it would be the first Christian lead character romantic comedy; kind of a Bridget Jones’ Diary with a Christian twist to it. I think that needs to be done.
That is a noticeable gap in Christian films right now.
Kerri: It is. And it’s got to be just the right company that’s willing to take a risk and tell my story. My journey wasn’t “perfect,” I didn’t meet a boy in Sunday School at 12 years old and then marry him. That just didn’t happen for me. I want it to be told in a real way, with integrity. I’m hoping we find the right production company that will say, “This is not your regular Little House on the Prairie story, but it is redeeming, and at the end, God wins.” That’s what I’m really fired up about now.
You wrote the book before meeting your husband, didn’t you?
Kerri: Yes, I had already been writing it for a few years, and it wasn’t a “how to get married book,” it was a “how to get God book.” Then when I met Ron, I wrote in our first date and it ended there.
The next book I wrote was “How to Ruin Your Dating Life,” which was more like a tongue in cheek rules of dating kind of thing.
You have a lot going on. What’s your secret to juggling it all?
Kerri: I have no secrets. I think like every woman in America, I run and run, then hit a wall and go get a manicure. Then I run and run again, hit a wall, and go get prayer. I go to a LOT of prayer groups. I call myself a God chaser. I’ll go to a conference and think I’m going to get myself some great prayer. I go whenever I can, and Lucy (my one-year old) and my husband go too.
I really think it’s a matter of chasing it when you need it. And you know, I still hit a wall a lot. I’m still working it out, and I wonder, “how do these mothers do it? How do these working moms manage?” Because I don’t want to have my daughter in day care and I don’t want her to have a nanny. People ask me, “How do you that without a nanny?” and I say, “I don’t know. She just comes everywhere with me.”
You were recently quote as saying that a lot of your talks are about saying “yes” to God. What does that mean in your life?
Kerri: My life has been a completely unexpected journey, and a lot of the things God asked me to give up were difficult. And a lot of things God has asked me to do were not going the way I thought they should be going. So I had to take a lot of time and really submit my career, my marriage, my family, my everything to God. He has bigger and better plans.
I was supposed to marry Matt Damon and have a sitcom right now. I had it all mapped it out, and God said, “I want you to go around the country and talk about me with a microphone.” That was not my idea, and I didn’t think that was very glamorous.
Now it’s even gotten to the point where I’m doing comedy shows and telling people about Christ and giving altar calls. That’s terrifying to me, but if God says “Do it,” you do it. (I’m doing that in churches, but not in clubs.)
We’ve actually started having prayer meetings in our home for Hollywood, and I totally believe I’m living in a place where there is a lot of spiritual warfare, and a lot going against Christians. The more we step out, the more dangerous we become. And that’s something we know just goes with our calling. Satan will never win.
Are you connected with some of the Hollywood ministries?
Kerri: Yes, Karen Covell (Hollywood Prayer Network) is a good friend of mine. I was a part of the Actors’ Coop in Hollywood when I was acting fulltime. I’ve been part of InterMission, and one of my favorites is called Third Tuesday. They have a great fellowship for anyone working in Hollywood.
Hollywood is a dangerous place if you’re a Christian, there’s no doubt about it. It’s a matter of your calling. If you’re called to stay, you’ll stay, and if not, there’s no judgment. We realize it can eat you alive unless you’re specifically called to be here.
When you’re filming and working, what are some of the things you and hour husband do to keep yourselves grounded?
Kerri: We pray a lot. I mean, we try to pray every day. We pray about decisions before they’re made. I made a new commitment this year to do my best to pray about every single opportunity before just jumping at it. A lot of times the paycheck might be nice, but there could be something that we don’t know. We’ve said no to a lot of things, and I’m glad I have Ron to be my rock. If I tell him I’m not supposed to do a project, and everybody else says I am, he supports me because he knows I hear from God. So sometimes it’s a matter of leaning on your partner and going, “So what do you think about it?”
We fast. Ron’s been doing a lot of fasting, which has helped for breakthroughs. But I tell you, becoming more intensely involved in ministry the past few years, it’s been the hardest time. The more out of the closet as a Christian I get, the more prayer I do at my shows, the warfare against us doing what we’re doing is getting heavier and heavier. But it’s something I think I don’t have a choice in the matter.
If I were living in Iowa, I’d be doing it in a McDonald’s parking lot if I had to. I like watching God work.
You’ve had an amazing career path that’s included a variety of performance types. Is there anything you’d like to go back to?
Kerri: I love acting. I love doing serious acting, and I miss it. Doing stand-up comedy is a little bit lonely. I have this thing I do called Act in Faith, and I worked with this Hollywood actor named Gary Hershberger. He’s brilliant. We would create original dramas that had Christian undertones, and they were intense. Nothing comedic.
But they were really fun. You’d sink your teeth into these relationships and write these pieces and perform them all around the country.
Where do you find yourself to be the most creative? Working with others like Gary, or working on your own?
Kerri: It depends on the season. I realize that nothing is ever gone forever. I might say, “Oh, I’ll never act again,” and then the phone might ring, and it’s the Jay Leno Show saying, “Come do a skit with Jim Carrey.” It’s so ever-changing.
I wrote two books, and it’s hard to write the third one. I have a one-year-old and I need to get dinner on the table, and I’m like, “What? I’m supposed to be writing?” But then God has a way of sending us confirmation. I really believe that. When I’m feeling down, something will happen to encourage me.
But lately, I’ve been really passionate about being really bold. The way I can be bold is when somebody gives me a microphone, it’s not going to be just jokes. There will be more to it than that. And I’ve been going through a lot in my personal life; overcoming obstacles, and really pressing into God. I think the reason I’m excited about going through these circumstances is that I have the attention of 800 people at one time, and I can literally preach to them a message of hope. They’re laughing, and that gets me in the door. Once I’m there, I can say, “Look, Isaiah 43 says ‘When you pass through the water, you will not drown,’ and here’s why I know that to be true.”
What are some things you’d still like to explore as an artist?
Kerri: I love film, and I still get antsy and pray like a little girl, “Please, God, let me be in movies.” I love film and television and I think as a Christian I could be very effective behind the scenes ministering to people. I think there’s a big battle to get Christian on the set or on crews.
I’d like to work in town, and God’s telling us to stay here for a reason. I’d love to be a regular on a show, or possibly do film. But the films are few and far between for an actor. I just turned down a role recently, and asked God, “What’s up with that?” But it’s not a sliding scale for me. God doesn’t grade on a curve.
So we’re very excited about “Hollywood on Fire.” We want Christians to support, pray, and get excited about this.
So many outsiders look at Hollywood as filled with unbelievers, but there are many Christians working in Hollywood.
Kerri: There have been a lot of things we’ve gone through recently, with my husband being sick, and realizing over the holidays that it’s like Solomon said, “You can’t make anything an idol.” There have been times in my career when Hollywood, or even comedy, has been an idol.
I would think, “I have to do this. I’m Kerri the performer.” But really what God’s been telling me is, “You’re Kerri my daughter. You’re not Kerri the performer, or even Kerri the wife. You’re my daughter.” I got to a point with God that I was so desperate I said, “Lord, I will work at McDonald’s and be happy if it means the health and wholeness of my family.” I don’t want anything more than the health and wholeness of my family, and I believe that’s where He needs to have all of us.
If we want the Hollywood thing too much, or watching the Golden Globes and saying, “I want one of those,” it’s not going to work for God’s purposes. You have to not care.” You have to go through serious garbage to get there, and anybody who hasn’t gone through those Job trials and haven’t been literally stripped, won’t understand. There are many people speaking into your life, and not everybody is hearing from God.
You’ve got to get your face to the floor, and you’re fighting for the basic things in your life. When someone’s sick, it doesn’t matter how many movies you’ve made. My mother had three cancer scares last year as well as heart surgery, and I was fighting for her life.
It’s not that I don’t want to do the movies and stuff, but I just had to get on my face and say, “Lord, it’s not all about that.” That’s a really hard tightrope we all walk out here.
Along with your husband, who helps you stay focused?
Kerri: I go to a small church pastured by a good friend Kathy Dreger and her husband. I call her my “dial a pastor,” because I can call her at any time, and she has walked me through this journey of show business for so many years. She used to be the women’s pastor at a church, and now they started their own church.
My church is very small, about 15 people, and they are our rock. They don’t care what we’ve been in. We can go in there, take our masks off, and be just Ron, Kerri and Lucy. They bring groceries to our house, and pray for us at 11:00 at night. They drop everything to help us, and that is the body of Christ. It’s what I’ve been experiencing the past few years, and being in a home church like that, that’s the true meaning of family.
Learn more about Kerri, see some of her videos and buy her boooks at her website