By Amanda Morad
Few television shows are currently considered more reflective of Southern American culture than A&E’s Duck Dynasty, a reality show about a close-knit Christian family in Louisiana running a successful duck call business. On Monday, Oct. 21, Regent University got a little taste of the bayou when Alan Robertson spoke at a special joint chapel with the Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).
The oldest of the Louisiana Robertson clan led by duck-hunting patriarch Phil Robertson, Alan is the pastor in the family and doesn’t feature in the show—though he certainly could. He offered his thoughts on family and told his story of personal redemption to the Regent/CBN audience.
“Our family gets compared to a lot of other TV families, but I usually compare the show to the Munsters,” he said. “I can completely relate to Marilyn Munster, perfectly normal and growing up in a family of monsters.”
Alan kept the crowd laughing throughout the service, but also gave some painful family history as he told his story of the road he took to becoming a pastor.
“I knew the worst of my dad,” he said of his early childhood years. “There wasn’t a lot of peace in our house.”
When Alan was young, the family lived in a trailer out behind the honky-tonk that Phil owned and operated at the time. His lifestyle reflected his career as he spiraled into heavy drinking and drugs, eventually kicking Miss Kay and his young sons out.
“The rock of our family is mom, Miss Kay. Because of her, we eventually came back together,” Alan said. He referenced an episode of Duck Dynasty called “Til Duck Do Us Part” in which Phil and Miss Kay renewed their vows.
“It was a look back at those earlier years that were lost and have now been regained,” Alan recalled.
Once the family was reunited and Phil became a Christian, the Robertsons ventured into the fishing business. From there, Phil discovered he was really good at making duck calls, and out of their family shed, Duck Commander was born. The clan made their first foray into filmmaking long before A&E came knocking with a series of videos called “Duckmen” where they documented their hunts.
“God was preparing us,” Alan recalled. “We had cameras around us all the time.” Those original videos eventually gave way to an offer from the Outdoor Channel for a show called Duck Commander, which ultimately led to Duck Dynasty.
“Dad said this is never going to work unless the Almighty is behind it,” Alan said of their early days in reality television. “Now, the Almighty has used us to get people asking questions about God and family they’ve never asked before. It’s amazing that this redneck family from West Monroe, Louisiana, could take Hollywood and New York by storm.”
But in the midst of this exciting time in his family in the ’80s, Alan said he was “hiding in plain sight.” As more success came to Duck Commander and the Robertson clan, teenaged Alan was being drawn to the same lifestyle his father had left.
He recalled Phil kicking him out of the house because of his behavior. “It was the second time I’d been kicked out by my dad,” Alan recalled. “The first was because of his lifestyle, the second was because of mine.”
Alan left for New Orleans and spent a year “finding” himself, but ultimately came home, knowing that his destructive behavior would eventually kill him. At 19 years old, Alan became a Christian and turned his life around, eventually becoming a preacher and church elder.
Since then, he and Phil have been best friends, often speaking to churches as “the feather (Alan) and the sledgehammer (Phil).”
Of the show’s success, Alan recognizes the incredible opportunity they’ve been given. “The people we’re working with (from L.A.), we never thought we’d be working with,” he said. “It’s quite the culture clash sometimes, but God will do amazing things to accomplish what He wants to do.”
Mindy Hughes, Public Relations
Source: Regent University