Religion in Comedy

I’m sure this is a very “comedian” point of view, but I believe that we have to be able to laugh at everything.  Especially that which is most important to us.  Being able to do so gives us perspective on the subject.

I find it interesting that the one topic that so easy to get in trouble with is religion.  Not surprising, but interesting.

There is some extremely funny comedy about religion out there.  Eddie Izzard is a genius at it.  And I suppose it’s about finding the right audience for it.

I have a few religious bits that I can’t do outside of large and/or fairly bohemian cities.  Instant hatred from the audience otherwise.

I was raised Catholic, but studying college level music tends to negate that.  You learn way too much about the crookedness of the church in music history and it’s hard to put that all behind you and go with the flow.

Now, that’s not to say that religion is bad or whatever.  Just that it’s flawed.  And it’s those flaws that make comedy.  I get annoyed with people that swear that every word in the bible is literal truth.  There’s been plenty of study that refutes that.  Even the timelines don’t work out.  And there was government intervention every step of the way.  So I play with those stories.

My bits are on the harsh side is you’re devout.  But I think that’s the point.  That you have to be able to see a different point of view.  For instance, according to one of the lost gospels, Mary was 16 when she had Jesus.  What we could call and teenage mother.  Joseph was 32 year old.  That’s what we now call a pedophile.  Obviously that wasn’t the view back then I suppose, but bringing that story into the present creates comedy.

Retaining the “mix history with present” type comedy, I also figure that God never gave them any child support.  Therefore establishing himself as the first deadbeat dad.  And maybe he didn’t even know.  Maybe Mary was a drunken hookup at a Heavenly party.

Taking the “God as party animal” story further, I posit that the Old Testament God was not really mean, but possibly hungover.  And then describe the creation of the universe in terms that support that.  They all fit, by the way.

It’s certainly not attacking religion.  Just playing with stories that are stories.  Like when they did Romeo and Juliet in a modern setting.  But, ooh, can I get myself in trouble with those.

Being an artist is a fine line between making money and pissing people off.  🙂

Phil Johnson
http://www.RoadsideAttraction.com

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