Sacred Cows, Sacred Clowns:
Comedy and Spirituality

Who's there?
God who?
God who getcha into my life!

Who's there?
God who?
God-who-dance! God-who-dance!

Can God take a joke?  Better yet, can we?

The One enthroned in heaven laughs;
the Lord scoffs at them.  
--Psalm 2:4

"Where were you when I laid the earth's foundations?
...Surely you know, for you were already born!"
--Job 38:4, 21
(also see Job 40:6-14)

How come there are no comedian saints except Saint Genesius?

Of course, today's comedians may be seen more as trashing
religion than honoring it.  But what's going on between
them and God?  When Bill Cosby did his Noah skit?  When
Phil Hartman prayed the Lord's Prayer before each taping
of SNL?  When Bill Maher publicly wrestles with God every
night on PI?

Did Jesus tell jokes?  Was God kidding when he made the
giraffe and the armadillo--not to mention the duckbill platypus?

Why were actors and clowns welcome in the medieval church--
and then thrown out and demonized?  What was the spiritual
advantage of having a court jester?  What about sacred clowns?
Are clowns scary?  Are they evil, as some anti-clown pages say?

Was Mark Twain right when he said there was no humor in heaven?

I hope to use this website for a multifaceted study
into comedy and spirituality.

I hope to discover God's funnybone.

MNL, Comedienne

Announcing my comedic debut:

Saturday March 24, 2001, I took part in a "Clean Comedy Workshop"
at the Lamb's Theater in the Times Square Area, NYC.
Hosted by "clean comedian" Donna East, the workshop was advertised
as a writing workshop, but we had a chance to perform that evening!

Here's my monlogue:

Hi, I'm (my real name), and I'd like to start by showing you my
impression of the Baha Men--that's the Baha Men--commenting on
the recent Presidential election:

     Who left the votes out? Who-who-who-who!
     Who left the votes out? Who-who-who-who!

Yeah, a lot of people were upset with that election.  People
all over the country feel disenfranchised, left out, put down,
discounted.  I'm thinking about this rash of school shootings.
Certain kids get picked on and picked on and picked on until
they get so mad they have to get an Uzi and spray everybody.

But think about it; you know.  Who are the kids who usually get
picked on?


ME: Right.  And nerds, do they tend to be dumb or smart?


ME: Yeah, smart.  Now--you're going to school, whose purpose is to
LEARN SOMETHING and to get the highest grades possible.  Wouldn't
you think that the nerds should be picking on the jocks?


Hey, jock!  Yeah, you.  C'mere.  Listen, jock.  How much is
2 + 2, times 100, divided by 1,000?

(as DUMB JOCK, scratching head, flexing muscles, scratching head:)

Let's see, 2 + 2, that's 4...times 100 divided by 1,000...?!


Two-fifths!  2 + 2 times 100 divided by 1,000 is 2/5!  You football-
tossing, jersey-wearer, you!

(as self:)

Another thing that disturbs me about these school shootings is that
virtually all these shootings are taking place in the South and the
West, including that stretch of land known as the Bible Belt.  I
know that in at least one shooting Christian kids were targeted.
But, I wonder, did these school shooters target the kids who were
making fun of them?  And I wonder, what are the "normal" kids 
learning when they go to church?

Love your neighbor...unless he's skinny, wears glasses, and gets
A's in physics!
Love your neighbor...unless her blouse doesn't match her earrings!
Love your neighbor...unless the teacher loves him too much!

Thing is, I don't think the modern Christian church culture, 
especially the conservative Christian culture, knows how to deal
with those who are different.  And these nerds, they grow up to
invent the Internet, become artists, musicians, theater people.
I don't think the Christian community at large knows how to deal
with artists.

For instance, if you're a modern typical Christian, you're supposed
to not like rock and roll.  You don't like the Beatles.  And you
hate John Lennon.

Now I love John Lennon.  And really, some of the Beatles' songs are
adaptive to spiritual settings.  Think about "Let It Be", with its
churchy chords:

(playing the downward chords on air piano)


(trill final chord)

And there's that Beatle song, "The Word":


     Spread the word, and you'll be free!
     Spread the word, and be like me!

Now imagine, John Lennon alone with God, alone in his room, 
using one of his songs to worship God:

(sings, strongly soulful)

     I WANT YOU.
     I WANT YOU.

     I WANT YOU.
     I WANT YOU SO BA-A-A-A-D, IT'S*    (*edited for time)
     DRIVING ME...!

     BUT YOU'RE SO...

That's it for me.  Thank you for your time, and I hope you
have a good evening!


Bill Maher of Politically Incorrect on Love vs. Lust
June 29, 2001:

Now, this week being the week of June that spring folds
into summer and having, as we do tonight, a panel of
experts on love.
It seems fitting that we take a lesson from the seasons
about love.
Because there is nothing more natural than for the lusty,
horny springtime of incipient romance to give way in time
to the more practical summer love that says, "Get away
from me with that thing.
It's just too hot." 
[ Laughter ]

And that's exactly what happens in the summertime of
human relationships.

Love ripens, and by that I mean it gets plump and goes

[ Laughter ]

Heart-pounding, heavy-breathing, "I'll lick you anywhere"
desire inevitably succumbs to a more reasonable, boring
arrangement that gets the dry cleaning picked up, the
kids to school, the car washed and waxed, but leaves
your knob unpolished.

[ Laughter and applause ]

[ Laughter and applause ]

But what I'm here to say is that's okay.
In fact, it's the natural order of things.
And instead of constantly disappointing ourselves by
falling short with our silly American credo that you can
have it all, we should accept the reality that lust and love
cannot occur together for long.
I mean, more than spring and summer can fall in the
same months.
Giving up lust is the price we pay for love.
Everything in life has a price.
It's only fitting that the best thing on Earth --
love --
should cost the other best thing on Earth.

[ Laughter ]

Love may spring eternal, but lust is more like mineral
Once the fizz is gone, it's not coming back.

But if you're really in love, you'll accept that.
After all, isn't that what love means --
never having to say, "Honey, I'll be right back, I left my
gun in the restaurant"? 
[ Laughter and applause ]

MNL's comment: I didn't know he had it in him!

God and Chocolate?

As you may know, The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier is my
favorite novel.

Lately I've been surfing the web and the libraries for
chocolate-themed books.  There's the current movie Chocolat, 
and the novel by Joanna Harris that inspired it.  I've
rediscovered How God Gives Us Chocolate, which I saw in a
Christian bookstore a few years ago.

But in early June 2001 I found out about a satiric novel,
Chocolate Jesus.  A plot similar to Chocolat: a candy
maker runs afoul of religious authorities!

What's this about God and chocolate?  Might chocolate stand
for the joy of life denied by uptight uprights?  Or does
chocolate stand for sin or temptation?

Might be worth it to look into contemporary religious satire.
What is the world trying to tell us?

P.S.  Discovered a very different "Chocolate Jesus" story on
the Internet.  A gross-out but if you have a strong stomach,
it's worth reading.  Another satiric story illustrating the
demands of good versus the attraction of evil.

Ha Ha Ha Ha Ha...ha ha...

MNL, Queens, NY: my homepage!
God and Chocolate?: taking the idea above and running with it.
Don't Fear the Terror! Scriptures for Halloween.: laughing in the face of the scary. Listmania: Can God take a joke? Can we?: a list of humor from God and humor about God.