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The $20,000 Church Gig That Wasn’t

I received a very strange booking inquiry email recently from a guy pretending that he wanted to hire me to do a show over in the United Kingdom. I knew right away it was bullshit. Not only because the offer was for a ridiculously large sum of money, but also because it was to provide entertainment for some Christian conference. I know how crazy and ridiculous this sounds. I also thought it was funny. That’s why I decided to post the email exchanges below. His unedited emails are included in their entirety. (I’ve added comments in italics in parenthesis).

Tue, Oct 25, 2011 at 12:57 PM – from Bill Calder – Subject: We need you for an Engagement

Good Morning Dwight York,

Blessing be onto you. I am Rev. Dr. Bill Calder, the presiding minister of West Wickham & Shirley Baptist Church, Corner of Wickham Road & Monks Orchard Road Croydon. United Kingdom.

We are hosting a conference come 28th, 29th and 30th of next month and we are pleased to notify you that you have been chosen by our Event Organizing Committee to add more light to the event and entertain our guests. After checking your credentials on (www.247comedy.com) and after visiting your website, we received the Lords direction to invite you to feature in this event and we also believe you are as well more than capable to deliver in this occasion. We have decided among the Event Organizing Committee to invite you to this program. (Was it my drug, drinking and dick jokes? Or the fact I sort of resemble the white European artists’ rendition of Jesus?)

As I earlier stated, the program is billed to hold on the 28th,29th and the 30th of November 2011 and we have also invited other notable speakers and comedians including Robert actor as well as Dan opera and also in the process of getting 2 others who is in the middle of an agreement with us for this program. As an inspirational and motivational speaker as well as a little comedian, I will also be speaking at this conference. (Obviously this must be a credible gig if they’re also bringing in “Robert actor” and “Dan opera” plus two others. Right?).

The conference theme has been carefully chosen by the Lord inspiration due to the backdrop of the present situation in the United Kingdom and this year’s conference has been tagged ‘How to stay focus when others lose focus: Holding on to God when things fall apart. And the keynote is : Survival instinct in an ailing Economy. (Sounds reasonable enough. Appeals to my altruistic side and helps make me feel less guilty/greedy for accepting such a large sum of cash as the world around me falls apart)

We want you to perform either before the speech or after the speech. As you know people get bored after too much of talking, So want you to make our guests crack their ribs and feel more lightened. (“Crack their ribs?” I hope this guy is not writing his own speech. I’m guessing English is not his first language).

Please confirm your availability for this event and the date that you will be available in-between this 3 days so we can put it on our website and start to design posters as well as hand bills. (They’re making hand bills? This must be legit) If you do agree to this contract we would also need a picture of you to put up in posters and flyers prior to the event date. You will only be speaking once in the three day conference. We have budgeted 19,500 USD for your fee and it is not regarding to your standard fees, Our fees are based on budget and we are not biased with our speakers fee, We budget for every speakers and comedians according to what the Event Organizing committee deem fit. (Good thing I didn’t throw out a number first of what I’d think is fair compensation…. of say… a tenth of that)

All travel arrangements such as Flight fare, performance fee deposit as well as Hotel accommodation will be taken care of as soon as you honor this invitation. We will send you all binding documents including a Letter of Invitation and Contract Agreement as soon as you honor our invitation. Email any questions you may have to: Rev.Dr.Bill Calder

You are blessed.
Reverend: Bill Calder
+44 7031873786

West Wickham & Shirley Baptist Church
Corner of Wickham Road & Monks Orchard Road
United Kingdom
(There really is such a place)

Quickly I replied – Subject: Re: We need you for an Engagement

Good Day to you Rev. Dr. Bill Calder,

I am available all three dates; November 28th, 29th and 30th. I’d be happy to entertain your guests.

God bless.

Dwight York

Within minutes came a reply from Rev Dr Bill:

Thanks for the email York, (York? Understandably we are not on a first name basis quite yet but could I get a little respect, mister?)

We are delighted you will be available for this event. May the good lord bless you more. Can we proceed? If yes, the church event organizing committee will contact you with necessary binding documents and necessary information.

Feel free to ask me any other questions , I will gladly answer them.

To which I replied: (I should have asked a lots of questions and milked this for what it was worth but instead I decided to try and scare him off)

That would be great. I will be happy to proceed. I hope you don’t have to wire me a deposit. The IRS has recently seized my bank account because of the charity work I do. Seems some of the money was funneled to an organization in Somalia with links to certain terrorist organizations. Perhaps you heard about it on the news? I just want to help feed starving children.

Dr Rev Bill replied:

That is OK Mr York. (He remembered “Mr.” this time)

Thanks for the email , the church event organizing committee will contact you with necessary binding documents, Since you do not want a wire transfer, will you accept checks ? or what mode of payment will you prefer ?

You are blessed. (Nice to know that my aiding terrorists was not a deal killer)


Sure I’d be happy to take a certified cashiers check. As long as I don’t have to email you my social security number. (I was assuming that it was the theft of my identity he was attempting)

Dr Rev:

Oh No, we would not need your SSN for anything . Its just a check and a mode of payment we have used for some speakers and comedians coming for this event.


Hmmmm. Sure then. Have the church event organizing committee contact me with necessary binding documents. You probably want to send me a deposit. Right? Let me know all about your event right away so I can post it on my website.

Dr Rev:

Hmmm ? (That was it. Not a “you are blessed” or anything)


Dude, (I decided it was time to call him out)

I don’t believe you are a Reverend. Or a Doctor. I don’t believe you have an event for me to do. I don’t have any money in a bank account to deplete even if you had my account numbers. I don’t have any money to send; in the bank or under my mattress. I am a poor starving artist/comic. I do not get offered twenty-thousand-dollar for one-show-gigs. I never get air-fare. AND I don’t do Christian comedy. I guess I have one joke that involves religion. “What would a priest say if he was having sex? Who’s your father?”

If this is legitimate I have an agent. He will be happy to look at contracts and send promo materials. (I’m the one pretending here. I don’t have an agent) If this is for real, I’ll consider it a miracle and from this day forward, change my act to Christian comedy and devout my life to Christ. (It was here I became slightly worried. What if Rev Bill was a real person and this was a legitimate offer? I’d have to change my act and my life style and start going to church. Plus I’d have to confess that I didn’t have an agent)

You are blessed (with incredible chutzpah)

Dr Rev:

This sounds very funny at the same time ridiculous to me.  Thanks to heaven we have not indulged our self with you. May God help and provide for you. What are you doing on proffesionals websites anyway? Don’t you think you are a disgrace to other comedians with your utterances? (Indulge themselves with me? That sounds dirty Rev)

Rev.Bill (He signed the email but left out the “you are blessed” part)



It is true about my utterances. I not only disgrace other comedians but I disgrace many who have indulged themselves with me. Not to mention all of those who have come across my name on professional websites. I guess the Lord sent you some bad direction. He is known to work in strange and mysterious ways.

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